Answering the Bears’ biggest questions at the start of the 2020 offseason

The Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley answers the Bears’ most pressing questions in the first week of their 2020 offseason.

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Bears coach Matt Nagy stands with Tarik Cohen, Mitch Trubisky, Kyle Fuller and Ted Larsen during the national anthem before the Chiefs game.

Bears coach Matt Nagy stands with Tarik Cohen, Mitch Trubisky, Kyle Fuller and Ted Larsen during the national anthem before the Chiefs game.

AP

The Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley answers the Bears’ most pressing questions in the first week of their 2020 offseason:

Who should be starting at quarterback in Week 1? Who will be?

Mitch Trubisky is the favorite to start in Week 1. Who should? Teddy Bridgewater will be too expensive, Cam Newton’s shoulder scares me and Nick Foles is comically overpaid. General manager Ryan Pace will spend the next two months exploring the trade and free-agent markets looking for, at least, a No. 2 quarterback. Maybe a starter becomes unexpectedly available. If not, Pace should try to reunite Alex Smith with friend Matt Nagy— provided the former is recovered from his gruesome leg injury —and allow him a fair competition with Trubisky during training camp.

How must Matt Nagy’s offense change?

Develop, for the first time, an appetite to run the football. Then run play-action off it.

What are the Bears’ top three needs?

A quarterback they believe in, a pass-catching tight end and an inside linebacker to pair with Roquan Smith.

George McCaskey’s faith in GM Ryan Pace and Nagy was …

Rooted more in blind belief than evidence we saw with our own eyes this season. With a simple declaration Tuesday, McCaskey could have put justifiable pressure on the two to improve in 2020. He didn’t, though, saying merely that “we believe in them— we have, we do and we will.” Um, OK?

Will Tarik Cohen be a 1,000-yard player again for the Bears?

The do-everything running back has one year left on his rookie contract, so the odds on this are worse than you’d think. But a player who touched the ball 143 times on offense last year is going to be given every opportunity to reach 1,000 in 2020.

How should the Bears use their two second-round picks?

Trade them! Have you met Pace? Since his arrival, Pace has traded his first-round pick in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020. He’s traded his second-rounder in 2016 (twice), 2017 and 2019. If Pace has a solid free-agent haul, he could rationalize dealing his two second-round picks to move into the first round and draft someone who can start right away. Jimmy Johnson’s old draft trade chart says the Bears could package Pick No. 43 and 50 to move up to … No. 19 overall, the pick they gave the Raiders for Khalil Mack.

With similar rosters, was the 12-4 season in 2018 or the 8-8 season in 2019 more reflective of what the Bears have?

Trubisky might claim the Bears are close, but the history of the franchise — which wakes up from mediocrity once every 20 years —dictates otherwise. From 2010-19, the Bears averaged eight wins per season. From 2000-2010, they averaged — waiiiit for it —eight wins.

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