Detroit Lions, NFC North training camp previews: Offense

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Trubisky Bears QB
Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Chicago Bears

It’s likely now-or-never for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky as year four approaches. The former second overall draft selection has simply not progressed enough to make the Bears’ offense a consistent threat. His training camp competition with offseason acquisition and Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles will be one of the most compelling battles not only in the NFC North but in the entire league.

Their receiver corps will be led again by Allen Robinson, perenially one of the most underrated wideouts in the league. The Bears will also be looking for bigger steps from youngsters Anthony Miller and Riley Ridley, with the latter playing in just five games as a rookie last year. Gadget receiver Cordarrelle Patterson makes his biggest impact on special teams; he has just 32 receptions over the last two seasons.

Last year, the Bears ranked in the bottom third of the NFL in yards per rushing attempt, rushing yards per game and total rushing touchdowns. The blame doesn’t fall entirely on the running backs, but they will need more out of David Montgomery than his 3.7 yards per tote from his rookie season. The options behind him are not inspiring, with pint-sized Tarik Cohen not built for a heavy workload.

Up front, the Bears need a better performance from their offensive line than the mess that they fielded in 2019. In head coach Matt Nagy’s first season in charge in 2018, the Bears’ quick-hitting dump-off attack helped mask the unit’s flaws. That approach was old news last season and has put several linemen on notice.

Scant draft capital in recent years has left Chicago unable to bolster the offensive line, so they will likely be forced to roll with tackles Charles Leno Jr. and Bobbie Massie again at the outset. Veteran Germain Ifedi was brought in likely to play guard but could shift back to tackle in the event of injury, infection, or ineffectiveness by one of the starters.

The Bears continued their head-scratching strategy of stockpiling tight ends this offseason, in hopes of finding a productive player at the position after years of swings and misses. Making sense of the depth chart is a daunting task.

Rookie second-rounder Cole Kmet was the first tight end to go off the board this past April in a weak class at the position. The Bears have gotten next to nothing out of another former second-rounder Adam Shaheen in three years. Veteran Jimmy Graham continues his trek around the NFC after two mediocre seasons with the Green Bay Packers. With nine tight ends currently on the roster, the Bears figure to carry at least four into the season, though who emerges as the number one is up in the air.