128 Comments

Ranking the Bears: The Best They Have to Offer

| July 27th, 2017

Every list has to have an end. For the Bears, this is a pretty good ending because the top of their roster is actually pretty good.

Last year I ranked Jay Cutler as the best player on the team largely because there weren’t many options. Who was their franchise player? A guard who just struggled at tackle? A wide receiver who couldn’t stay on the field? A pass rusher who began the year on the PUP list? No. No. And No. They didn’t have a player to build around. They didn’t have anyone who ranked among the truly elite at their position.

That isn’t the case anymore. I finished the list by ranking the top 10 players on the team and I think it can be argued that the top four are among the very best at what they do.

10. Cam Meredith, WR. There may not have been a more underrated player on the team last year. A superb athlete who keeps improving. Statistics may not be as great next year because the team likely won’t throw as often, but he’s shown the ability to consistently get open and make plays with the ball in his hands. Also threw a touchdown pass. So there’s that.

(Jeff’s Note: Watching Cam Meredith develop in 2017 is one of the things I’m most excited about. I think the kid has star potential.)

9. Eddie Goldman, DL. Missed most of last season because of injuries, but still had 2.5 sacks and 12 tackles in just 198 snaps. Not bad for a guy who many thought was just a lane clogger. Powerful and athletic, Goldman allows the Bears to play small with just two down linemen. Really could be a cornerstone of their defense going forward.

8. Cody Whitehair, C. A key to the team’s future as the anchor of their line. He isn’t the top-ranked offensive lineman but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up being their best this year. Struggled with consistency early last year, especially with his run blocking, but improved as the season went along and was downright dominant at times. Leader.

(Jeff’s Note: When Andrew makes this list next year, I’ll be surprised if Cody Whitehair isn’t 1 or 2. I think he’s that talented and that important.)

7. Leonard Floyd, Edge. Two concussions in one year are certainly concerning, but there were times when Floyd was just ruining game plans. Watch what he did against the Packers. Or the Lions. They just couldn’t keep up with him. He did it using mostly athleticism, if he can learn a few more moves he could be unstoppable.

6. Pernell McPhee, Edge. Despite playing just 25 percent of the team’s snaps last year, McPhee was fourth on the team with four sacks and first with eight other QB hits. Given his knee issues, I’m not sure he’s ever going to be the every down dominant force we saw early in his first year with the team, but he might be even more dangerous in spot duty. I’d like to see the team use him the way Baltimore did. Regardless, once he got right last year, he got after quarterbacks.

(Jeff’s Note: Pernell McPhee is, in my mind, no longer expected to produce at a high level for this organization. Starting camp on PUP has solidified that for me.)

5. Kyle Long, G. Common thought is that Long won’t be available early this season, but should be before long. He’s one of the better guards in the league and never had durability issues before last year. A little lower on this list than he otherwise would’ve been only because I’m not sure on the health of his shoulder. Whether or not that will be an issue is something we’re just going to have to wait and see about.

4. Jerrell Freeman, LB. Was all over the field last year, really adding a speed element to the middle of the defense. Both assignment sure and a good tackler. Also, apparently saved some dude’s life, so he has to be in the top five.

3. Akiem Hicks, DL. The biggest surprise of the 2016 season for me. I didn’t know he could move as well as he can. A violent rusher who usually delivers a blow when he gets to the quarterback. Probably was the team’s best defensive player last year. You don’t see many 330-pound guys who can get seven sacks. Also had 14 hurries and six hits despite being the only defensive lineman who was worth a damn for most of last year.

2. Josh Sitton, OG. Maybe not as good as he once was, but that only speaks to how good he was then. Allowed just two quarterback hits and five hurries all of last season. Allowed just one more “bad run” than Long did despite playing nearly 300 more snaps. Only real negative is that he was called for six penalties last year; understandable for a guy who was learning the playbook on the fly.

1. Jordan Howard, RB. Here is a list of players who have run for 1,300 yards with an average of five yards per carry since 2010: Jamaal Charles, Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Ezekial Elliott and Jordan Howard. Not bad company, huh? It’s been generally thought that Howard had a good rookie season. That’s crazy. He had a GREAT rookie season. The common thought was that he’d be a pounder for the Bears, but he’s so much more than that, proven by his 20 rushes of 20 or more yards, third most in the league. After breaking into the starting lineup in Week Four, Howard averaged 96 rushing yards per game and showed the ability to catch the ball with 29 catches for 298 yards last year. Has great vision and acceleration and finishes every run with a boom. This is the team’s franchise player right now.

Tagged: ,

  • Corporal Clott

    Howard #1. BOOM!

    • SC Dave

      Boom? It was, after all, a “no-brainer”.

  • King of DBB

    McPhee isnt even going to take the field in pre-season. His knee is washed out, he done.

    • CanadaBear

      I just read it’s the other knee this time. Lucky for the Bears he has a pair of bad knees!

    • Irish Sweetness

      We didn’t have a pass-rush WITH Nanny – Pace loves hiring re-treads. He has left us high and dry at OT and pass-rush, with no backup for Jordan.

  • Elect A Clown. Expect A Circus

    WTF.. how can you get wiped out with a conditioning test. Looks like he didn’t work out at all during the break.

    Kevin Fishbain‏ @kfishbain 2m2 minutes ago

    Eddie Goldman isn’t practicing. Was told he struggled with yesterday’s conditioning test. We’ll see what Fox says post practice.

    • SC Dave

      Depends on the level of the test, wouldn’t you think? Could be he tweaked something halfway through and couldn’t finish.

      Some people seem to always assume the worst case. Must make life rather miserable for them.

      • Elect A Clown. Expect A Circus

        A key piece of defense who was oft injured for last two years cannot get through a mere conditioning test. No matter how you slice it, that is not good.

        But you seem to be butthurt by my post. LOL.

        • SC Dave

          You’re the one exhibiting butthurt

  • SC Dave

    I generally like the rankings here. The choice of Hicks over Freeman would have been a lot harder for me w/o the PED suspension.

  • King of DBB

    I see a little silhouetto of a man,
    Scaramucci, Scaramucci, will you do the Fandango?
    Investigating my financing
    Very, very frightening me
    (Mueller) Comey
    (Mueller) Comey
    Sessions Rosenstein
    They all must g-o-o-o-o
    I’m just a rich boy, everybody loves me
    He’s just a rich boy from a rich family
    Spare him these attacks from this monstrosity
    Easy come, easy girl, will you let me have a go?
    BillyBush! No, we will not let you have a go (let him grope!)
    BillyBush! We will not let you have a go (let him grope!)
    BillyBush! We will not let you have a go (let him grope!)
    Will not let you have a go (let him grope!)
    Never, never let you have a go
    Never let me have a go?, oh
    No, no, no, no, no, no, no
    Oh, mama mia, mama mia (mama mia, let me have a go)
    Bannon has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me
    So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye? (Yeah!)
    So you think you can love me and leave me to die?
    Oh, Sessions, can’t do this to me, Sessions
    Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta this mess
    Russia really matters
    Anyone can see
    Russia really matters
    Russia really matters to me
    Any way the windbag blows

    • willbest

      Bannon is proposing a marginal tax rate of 44% on incomes over 5 million. I didn’t realize the devil was so progressive.

      • Corporal Clott

        Meaningless dribble. Any income earner showing that much of a taxable profit needs to hire a new CPA.

        • willbest

          Sure but you got to be willing to dump it into a foundation and then do PR stunts with children at parties while you spend it all on booze.

    • Corporal Clott

      It’s a see saw cruel game of I spy at the expense of the voters. Let me tell you, ALL of these characters involved are rolling with laughter behind closed doors each and every day as they try to see what new soap opera scenerio’s they can dream up for the news highlight reels.

      Commodus would be proud of these guys.

      • willbest

        I don’t know about that. The outrage being worked up is at a dangerous level. That can’t be intended. I genuinely think somebody got into the WH that isn’t under the control of your Illuminati. That isn’t to say he is a savior. He isn’t. But they are desperate to get him under control or at least contained.

        • Corporal Clott

          The illuminaughty are nothing but a smokescreen.

          • So who are the ones really pulling the strings, Trac?

            Don’t be like the X-files and make us wait 8 years.

          • willbest

            that is why I said “your Illuminati”. I don’t know if he is all Rothschilds or Bilderberg, or some sort of Gates-Rockafellar billionaire foundation alliance, or Blankfien-Dimon-Corbat banking cartel, or Free Masons, or Knights Templars, etc. I wanted to be as inclusive as possible so he wouldn’t deflect.

          • He won’t tell us.
            He’ll make some enigmatic reference to something or other, then retreat back to the 5th dimension.

            Tell us Trac. Inquiring minds wanna know!

          • Corporal Clott

            Hahaha, no Butch I will not. The mind meld has been so perfect and so masterfully implemented by this group that it’s impossible for you to comprehend. I have gone where most mere mortals would never dare to tread. Until you’re willing to reboot your mind, “you can’t handle the truth” as Jack Nicholson once said.

          • Johnnywad

            Hahahaha. What a giant crock of shit! The POTUS is a smokescreen for the Illuminati which is a smokescreen for a group even more devious, powerful and organized yet undetected. Is this the “Kabal” from “The Blacklist”? Must be.

            Holy shit. Trac really gives humans a tip of the cap when it comes to organizing power. We elected Donald Fucking Trump for Christ’s sake. The whole thing is laughable on a good day.

          • willbest

            That is why I can’t believe in a fake moon landing. Somehow in the history of government they found the exact 2000 people that would have to be in on it, and competent and devious enough to carry the ruse on for 60 years.

          • Johnnywad

            Don’t forget motive. Why the hell would such a thing even be attempted? The world just is not that complicated.

          • Irish Sweetness

            300,000 NASA employees and the Soviet Union have not kept a secret that big for 50 years.

          • Corporal Clott

            I’ll give you a hint butch, give it a try. And here’s a freebie, it’s not the Jews, the Vatican or the Rothchilds although all of the above have played a part in the game.

            Follow da money!

          • Irish Sweetness

            If you follow the money then it’s the Rothschilds. They can certainly get things done, owning most of the world’s wealth.

  • willbest

    I think it was Biggsy reporting that Hicks is looking for 10 million a year. He might not be a Bear past this season.

    • CanadaBear

      Gotta pay somebody. I’d much rather pay him $10 mil than Fuller $10.

      • willbest

        Well if Fuller is your benchmark, I would rather pay Chicken Dinner 10.

        • Scharfinator

          CD does have a super bowl ring after all…

  • Corporal Clott

    “DaBearsBlog @dabearsblog
    NFL fans: not the brightest people”
    Surly Jeff giving his best Romney impression.

    • Scharfinator

      Jeff is an NFL fan…

      • Corporal Clott

        Ahem…haven’t you heard? He’s a golf fan now.

    • willbest

      Does he mean fans of American football, or does he mean fans of the governing organization?

  • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

    Adam Hoge‏ @AdamHoge
    Trubisky with a “wow” throw, flicking his wrist on the run and delivering a 15-yard laser to Braverman.

    BRAVERMAN!!!!!!!!

  • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

    In case anyone is interested here is Jeff answering questions on a Vikings Blog.
    http://vikingsterritory.com/2017/analysis/opposing-view-qa-bears-writer-jeff-hughes

    • willbest

      A healthy Stefan Diggs is the best WR in the division right now. Who knows if he is going to be healthy though.

      • AlbertInTucson

        Diggs is only the best WR in the division when he sees the Bears.

        • Malice Halice

          Thankyou. Diggs? Really Diggs? Nobody had film on Diggs. I guarantee he won’t do shit this year even IF he the only WR to throw to in MN

          • AlbertInTucson

            Diggs has 7 TD receptions the last 2 seasons.

            4 of them came against, guess who?.

          • BerwynBomber

            Diggs also had Bridgewater and Bradford throwing to him. Not exactly Drew Brees in the productivity department. Or even Matt Stafford. Let alone Rodgers.

          • willbest

            And last year the queens lost both starting tackles and a starting guard. It was a minor miracle that Bradford made it through with both knees.

          • willbest

            I am not putting Diggs on a top 10 list, but go around the the NFCN

            Vikings: Diggs, Thielen
            Packers: Nelson, Adams
            Lions: Tate, Jones
            Bears: Meredith, Wheaton

            Which guy you taking? Not for FF because that is obviously Nelson, which guy are you taking independent of Rodgers?

            Oh and I guess Michael Floyd is a viking now starting in week 5, and assuming he doesn’t get himself suspended for something else.

          • Johnnywad

            It’s Nelson (fuck), and Tate. Then everybody else for me.

          • The NFCN WRs aren’t all that now that Mega left.

            But we arguably have the 4 best overall QBs in a division.

            Vadgers, Lesbo, Bradford, Glennon/Trub

            Even when Cargo was around, he’s still better than say Kessler or Savage.

          • SC Dave

            Even Brees, Ryan, Newton, and Winston?

          • willbest

            Yeah my money would be on the NFCS too. In fact, I am pretty sure the NFCN is low on the QB totem pole. I could probably make the argument that everybody but the NFCW is better off at QB

            NFCW – Wilson, Palmer, Goff, Hoyer

            My word.. just typing that out… what is the over under on the seahawks this season? 11 wins?

          • Irish Sweetness

            Yup, you got it Dave. That’s the 4 right there and it’s not even close.

    • Irish Sweetness

      Why does that get hushed up??

      Because he has us LAST in the division!!

      “I thought Trubisky was one of the five best players in this draft.”

      Was he the SECOND best though? PLUS two picks??

  • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

    (Jeff’s Note: Pernell McPhee is, in my mind, no longer expected to produce at a high level for this organization. Starting camp on PUP has solidified that for me.)

    Pretty sure he started camp last year on the PUP list also. But I agree, we can’t expect much from him.

    • willbest

      He didn’t inspire when he finally got on the field last year. Rodgers out ran him. CD would have broke his collar bone a second time.

    • CanadaBear

      Just read it’s his other knee causing him problems. FUCK!

      • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

        he probably just doesn’t want to practice.

        • CanadaBear

          Too busy getting worked up over shitty QB’s.

      • BerwynBomber

        Yeah, sucks. He showed a lot of promise that first year. Really disrupted the pocket in a one-man wrecking crew sort of way. When he was healthy.

        But there’s the rub.

        • CanadaBear

          I was really excited to have a high-motor, mad-dog type player on D. He fired up everyone out there on D (except Fuller, not possible). After the injury, a high-motor, mad-dog type that is only occasionally effective just seems like a boor.

      • This is probably the reason why we kept Houston around.
        At this point, Houston/Young will likely split with some Acho.

        Acho is actually disruptive, but can’t cover for shit.

        • willbest

          I weep that we are paying Houston $6 million. That is money that could have gone to pay Poe.

    • Players no real Bears fan is expecting shit from because of inj risk.

      McPhee
      Goldman
      Tre
      White
      Long
      Miller
      Prince(?)
      Callahan(?)
      Fuller (Pussyitis)

      So we can just assume the Bears playing with their backups and go from there.

      • CanadaBear

        I can’t give you an up vote but I also can’t disagree with ya. Hope you’re wrong (even though I know you’re right about a few of them).

        • The one that hurts the most there is Goldman. He’s def a diff maker when in and the backup will be much cheaper caliber.

          Here’s Freeman and Hicks being interviewed. Hicks has high praise for Goldman.

          (2nd part is Glennon and Howard)

        • willbest

          I can give him an upvote. And its why I can’t figure out where we are getting 7 wins from regardless of who is under center

          • CanadaBear

            It pains me too much to give Butch an up vote for that post. I’ve been saying 6 wins with a +/- of 2. Horrible injury luck = 4 wins. Incredible luck (2001 season) = 8 wins. Who knows?

          • willbest

            Its why we play the games. I am not defeatest on this season but I guess its the first time that I don’t really have any expectations. Not that I have a good track record on that front.

            sky high in 2014, got dogshit
            expected dog shit without drama in 2015, got a team that competed hard and looked poised to make the leap forward
            expected the leap forward in 2016, got a team too broke to even be competitive.

          • Johnnywad

            Same. It’s rather numbing. This must be what it feels like to be a Lions fan for life.

            A couple good seasons and I’ll be pretty psyched again. But for now, I’m not clearing my Sunday calendar this fall. I’ll watch, but I’m not missing anything good to do so. This is a huge departure for me. I didn’t miss a game for years. Bears football was my thing when the season rolled around. Now it’s just kind of smoldering there. Waiting.

          • SC Dave

            2-0 would solve that problem

          • Johnnywad

            I’d likely die from the shock of it all.

          • Bender McLugh

            Nobody at this point. Except errybody here, all experts. What happened to lets see how they fucking play?

          • SC Dave

            This

          • Think it just depends.
            Like how much of a drop-off is it from McPhee to Young/Houston?

            Or how much of a drop-off is it from Long to Kush, Miller to Sims?

            White and Fuller have been inj for so long, it’s like they weren’t even on the team anyways.

            The nickle (Callahan) is usually in flux and plays roughly about 40-60% so perhaps can scheme to make-up a bit.

            The ones which will hurt most are Prince and Goldman.

            We desperately need a #1CB to emerge, and we’re counting on Prince.
            Same with Goldman at NT. He’s a playmaker, and who the heck will play NT if he goes down? I don’t want them to slide in Hicks and put Unrein back at DE, that’s for sure.

            Edit. Should say Tre hurts too cuz he’s much better than Kwiat, but hey, here’s hoping Kwiat progresses.

      • willbest

        You forgot Kendall Wright

        • I could prolly put a couple more on there, like Cruz and Jaye Howard, or even Floyd who’s proven prone to concussions and is 1 away from missing at least a month, but trying not to be overly debbie downer

          • willbest

            Oh I doubt Cruz makes the team. I figured Wright was a lock.

          • SC Dave

            Had me fooled

          • INJs are going to hit.
            Those are the most likely based on history.

            Could be some freak inj happens to Glennon a la Bridewater but I just go by history.

      • Bender McLugh

        Overreaction 101

      • SC Dave

        Are you channeling the Doomer?

        • Nah, just looking at history.
          McPhee is always inj.
          Goldman played a whole 6 games last season, and was inj b4.
          White has played like 2 games in 2 yrs to go along with the metal rod.
          Long is returning from not one but TWO inj, one of which had complications.
          Miller might not even get the chance to inj himself he’s so expected to be hurt
          Tre is returning from one of the most brutal INJs in football (see Cruz)
          Prince has been a china doll except last season.
          Callahan is always battling something.
          Fuller, well, see ()

          Personally, I’m not expecting much from them, but like I said above/below, I don’t think it’ll be the end-all.

          The one that needs to remain healthy is Goldman, and our OTs, (esp Leno).

  • Elect A Clown. Expect A Circus

    One things is for sure..Orange Chimpanzee and his treasonous teabagger supporters are not sending their best to govern.

    Igor Bobic‏Verified account
    @igorbobic
    Scaramucci: “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock.”

    And other GooPer clowns…

    Doug Stafford‏
    @dougstafford

    “If the House doesn’t promise NOT to pass the bill, we will not vote for it”; strangest position in my time here, & that’s saying something”

    Topher Spiro‏Verified account @TopherSpiro 25m25 minutes ago

    Three Senators: I will vote for the bill only if I get assurances it will not become law.

    Dylan Scott‏Verified account @dylanlscott 27m27 minutes ago

    Sen. Graham, what do assurances even look like?

    “It’s like pornography. You’ll know it when you see it.”

    • Johnnywad

      Log in with Disqus so everybody can block you please.

      • SC Dave

        He’s such a douche. I still think it’s Jeff.

  • So, got me browsing at the FAs still available.

    http://walterfootball.com/freeagents2017WR.php

    Nothing to get excited over, that’s for sure, but some decent stop-gap names.

    At NT, Jared Odrick might become something again.
    OLB Michael Morgan. Michael who? Exactly. Supposedly a good 2down OLB, which would complement Young who is more of a rush specialist. Also, comes from SEA so should be familiar with our system and coached up.
    CB Sam Shields? He’s still not cleared to play due to concussion, but if he ever gets cleared when one of our CBs indubitably goes down, maybe worth the risk.
    Justin Gilbert? It’ hard for me to believe someone drafted 8th overall and only 25 could be that horrible, but maybe worth it for the ‘upside’.
    WR. Anquon Boldin, biatches! Yeah, he’s 36, but it’s not as if he’s ever relied on speed. 67 catches and 8Tds just last season. Could be good “mentor” not just for other WRs, but entire team, esp Trub.
    Beckham. Much like Gilbert, all about ‘upside”. He’s 6’5, athletic and barely 24. We need a big body WR.

    • King of DBB

      At 23m Bears are top 3 in cap space going into camp. Am I reading Sportrac correctly? I think I am.

      That can pick up several guys or be room for a trade

      • I think the Bears are gonna go the usual route and wait for Pat’s cut to scoop up leftovers.

        I still wanted a NT like Baker to sub in with Goldman, but that ship has passed.

        At least that 23M can roll over to next year?

        • CanadaBear

          They will likely use some of that space to extend a player or two.

  • King of DBB

    I think the US press secretary calling the executive Chief of Staff a paranoid schizophrenic is an unusual thing for the United States.

    I’ve been alive since Nixon and I’m pretty sure this is unusual. Not a normal thing.

    • SC Dave

      Its the twitter age

      • willbest

        I find it fascinating that the people that created 50+ genders in the last 5 years are now complaining about what is and isn’t normal behavior.

        • Irish Sweetness

          It’s beyond ridiculous. But ‘normal’ has a definition. Here’s what’s ‘normal’.

          What most people are, but you are not.

    • Supposedly, there are tapes.
      But personally, I’d like to hear Ray Liotta or Joe Pesci reanact them.
      Foggetabout it

    • 7source7

      I guess you could say some of Bill Clinton’s – shall we say antics – were not usual. What’s your point?

      • King of DBB

        Except they were.

        Getting a blowjob from an intern? Bobby and John F. used to do that every Tuesday morning, just before morning stretches. Hell, Clinton was dopey Kennedy – redneck watered down Kennedy.

        But even in the worst days of Nixon, even after the protests in the streets and Vietnam still going on – there was not rank disorder at the WH. You didn’t have Halderman trying to fist fight Erlichman. The weirdest it got was when Dick asked Henry to pray with him.

  • AlbertInTucson

    WHY YOUR TEAM SUCKS is back on Deadspin.

    • willbest

      I think when it comes to the Bears they are going to have difficulty pruning it down to the 600 words they usually dedicate to that sort of thing.

  • AlbertInTucson

    “Hokey Smoke, Bullwinkle!” Happy trails, June Foray (99). The voice of Rocky, The Flying Squirrel, Nell Fenwick, Granny, Witch Hazel and countless other cartoon characters.

  • Murkowski and McCain “No” on the skinny.
    Could’ve sworn I heard Sen Peters vote No, but perhaps diff one.

    Edit. the other was Sen Collins. 51-49.

    Seven yrs. Rep own WH, Senate, and House.

    Riiiiding through the danger zone…

    • willbest

      must be the cancer. I could have swear he has voted for repeal before.

      • Maybe Trump shouldn’t have pissed off Murkowski, eh?

        Remember, you can see Russia from any house in Alaska.

        • willbest

          Is he 1 vote short?

          I have decided that the GOP just isn’t interested in governing. Personally, I don’t really have a problem with that, but they should really campaign on it if that is their intent.

          Pelosi and Reid are loathsome individuals but they were strong leaders.

          • Corporal Clott

            You just can’t admit I’m right can you?

          • willbest

            That now that the staged oppo is gone they have to do their own dirty work? Your secret rulers are pretty stupid unless their endgame is to break the US into about 5-6 countries.

  • Irish Sweetness

    (Jeff’s Note: Watching Cam Meredith develop in 2017 is one of the things I’m most excited about. I think the kid has star potential.)

    We watched him develop. Potential? He’s already the man.

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