Now we return to the list of reasons the Bears might struggle to repeat 2018’s success.
IV. Cornerback Penalties
New nickelback Buster Skrine was flagged 7 times for 107 yards in 2018. Those numbers were 14th and 7th highest, respectively, among all defensive backs.
Prince Amukamara also has a knack for drawing flags; he drew 8 for 90 yards (8th and 13th among DBs) in 2018, and had 2 more get declined.
And 2018 wasn’t an outlier for either player. Skrine had 11 flags for 105 yards in 2017, while Amukamara had 7 for 99.
You can live with having one penalty-prone player in your secondary, but two is a bit more of a concern. All it takes is one big penalty in a key moment to swing a close game.
V. David Montgomery and/or Anthony Miller
I’m grouping these two together as relatively unproven young players who will be counted on for big roles in 2019. For Chicago’s offense to take the step forward that is needed to win a Super Bowl, Miller needs to supplant Taylor Gabriel as the WR2 and Montgomery needs to beat out Mike Davis as the starting RB. I think there are excellent reasons to be high on both Montgomery and Miller, but what happens if one or both of them aren’t ready?
Davis and Gabriel are both solid veterans who are capable role players, but neither is a guy who should be a main cog in a top-level offense. Miller and Montgomery are capable of doing just that, but they could hold the offense back if they fail to prove it in 2019.
And now I’ll end with the elephant in the room. 2018 Trubisky had incredibly high highs (Tampa Bay and Detroit) and very low lows (Minnesota the 1st time, LA Rams). Overall his season ended up about average, but he generally tore up really bad defenses and struggled against good ones.
That’s not going to win a Super Bowl. If the Bears are going to take the next step in 2019, Trubisky will have to be significantly better than he has been so far. Super Bowl winning teams, by and large, have top-level quarterbacks. Even after taking a step forward in 2018, Trubisky still has a long way to go before you can say that about him.
Realistically, if some of the first five concerns go wrong and Trubisky doesn’t take a step forward, the 2019 Bears are in trouble.