Who Are the Bears Core Players?

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune
answers your questions.

“In Sunday’s column, you gave the impression that there is almost no core of players Ryan Poles
can build upon for next season and that it could take two to three years to build the Bears into a contender. Yet a number of games were lost by relatively small margins, which would suggest the Bears should win significantly more games next year and perhaps make the playoffs. Are you perhaps being too negative about the current roster and the chances for next year? — Russ T., Palos Heights”

“Bad teams find ways to pull out games here and there, and the Bears are a bad team mired in an eight-game losing streak, tied for the longest in one season in club history.”

“When looking to the future — and with two games remaining in a 3-12 season, that’s where the focus has to be — a critical eye is needed unless you simply want to view everything as a glass that’s not just half-full but overflowing.

“NFL teams often color-code players in pro scouting to get an idea of a roster’s strengths and weaknesses. There are many variations and everyone has their own little twist (some use numbers), but the bottom line is they’re evaluating players relative to others at the same position leaguewide.

“A color-coded scheme goes blue, red, purple and orange, often with a plus or minus to differentiate even further. Blue is an elite player who can start for any team, a perennial Pro Bowl talent.”

“What makes it challenging to forecast success for the Bears in 2023 is this roster doesn’t have a lot of blue — and maybe doesn’t have a single blue.”

“When you step back and evaluate the current depth chart — and when you see the surplus of elite players that recent opponents such as the Bills and Eagles have — you get a better idea of how far off the Bears are from doing more than trying to wiggle into the playoffs with a record near .500 at this time next year.”

Biggs gave a very long answer to this question, most of which I cut out but all of which I agree with.

However, in order to simplify the response I’d like to take a look at the Bears current roster and simply evaluate players that you can consider to be the core of a future playoff starting unit. The list of core players is pretty short. I included everyone about whom I thought a reasonable case could be made in the table below with my own judgement. Your mileage may vary.

I make it at 15 core starters but 3 are special teamers. Out of the 12 who remain, as Biggs states, none could reasonably be considered as blue players. In addition, only 5 are on the defensive side of the ball (Brisker, Gordon, Jackson, Johnson and Sanborn). Jackson is 29 and none are defensive linemen.

Bottom line, no matter how you slice it, the Bears have a lot of work to do.

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