It was ten years ago this season that the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI, and it just so happens that the Colts will host the Bears this season - something that only happens once every eight years.
The Colts will face Chicago in week five at Lucas Oil Stadium, returning home after a road game in London in week four. That will make for a tough game, and the Bears figure to be a solid team this season. Perhaps the Bears’ biggest addition this offseason was also the Colts’ biggest loss, as Chicago signed inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman in free agency - an added storyline to the matchup.
As we’ve been doing for each of the Colts’ 2016 opponents, we wanted to get a closer look at where the Bears stand entering the year. Windy City Gridiron, SB Nation’s site covering the Bears, helped us out with that endeavor, and here’s what they had to say:
Notable free agent additions:
ILB Danny Trevathan, ILB Jerrell Freeman, DL Akiem Hicks, RT Bobby Massie, QB Brian Hoyer
Notable free agent departures:
RB Matt Forte
TE Martellus Bennett
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:
1st Round OLB Leonard Floyd will at the very least be in on passing downs to rush the passer. His coverage skills could be put to use as well.
2nd Round OL Cody Whitehair is in line to start at left guard.
3rd Round DL Jonathan Bullard will be in the defensive line rotation.
5th Round RB Jordan Howard will be part of the Bears’ backfield by committee. The power element he adds could give him the edge on short yardage and goal line situations.
Biggest offseason addition:
The two free agent inside linebackers will help get the Bears defense back to being respectable. Trevathan and Freeman are so much better (like really, really, better) than last year’s duo of Shea McClellin and Christian Jones.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp:
There are a lot of story lines to pick from, but I think most fans are excited to see 2015 first round draft pick Kevin White finally healthy. He missed all of last season with a shin injury, and if he’s all he’s cracked up to be, he will add a huge playmaker to the offense.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp:
So many to choose from, like the revamped front seven gelling, the running back by committee taking shape, the safety position figuring itself out, Jay Cutler meshing with new offensive coordinator, but a more obscure storyline could be 7th round pick Daniel Braverman. He’s a smallish and shifty slot receiver that Bears’ fans are already rooting for. If he has a good camp then follows it up was a decent preseason, some fans will have their new favorite player.
Notable injuries heading into training camp:
Fourth wide out Marquess Wilson broke his foot again and may end up on the PUP list. Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee is recovering from offseason knee surgery, but he should be 100% for training camp.