NFL Season Kicks Off

Andrew Braddy, Reporter

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The long-awaited national nightmare ended last Thursday night as football season is back and in full force as the defending super bowl champs, the Philidelphia Eagles, took  on the Atlanta Falcons. The Eagles won 18 – 12 in a defensive battle. That game officially kicked off the NFL season but around the Chicago area, football season didn’t start until Sunday night when the Chicago Bears traveled to Lambeau field to play under the lights and in primetime to duel with their bitter rival, the Green Bay Packers.The Bears dominated the first half and were up 20-0 at half against Green Bay, but a crippled Aaron Rodgers once again did the unthinkable and led the Packers back to defeat the Bears 24-23. Although the Bears had a heartbreaking loss to start the season, there is reasons to believe that this year won’t be the same as years past. 

After a disappointing 5-11 season a year ago, the Chicago Bears fired their head coach, John Fox, after three straight seasons of failing to make the playoffs. The Bears hired Matt Nagy to lead the locker room back to a winning culture. Nagy was the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs last season, and led a Chiefs offense, which was a top five offense in the NFL last season. The Chiefs also made the playoffs in large part to their high-powered offensive attack. Nagy is a young, creative, offensive-minded head coach who likes to throw the football, a complete opposite of Fox. Fox had an old school football mentality, which means his emphasis was to run the football and play defense. The biggest story last year for the Bears was the arrival of their future franchise quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, who was the number two overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. Trubisky flashed some potential in his twelve NFL starts last year, but also showed his youth as he threw for 2,193 yards, but only threw seven touchdowns. He also had seven interceptions. That being said, the Bears offense was ranked 31st in the league out of 32 teams, with the winless Cleveland Browns being the worst. The Bears receiving corps were decimated with injuries as projected number one receiver Cam Merideth tore his ACL in the preseason last season and former first round pick in 2015, Kevin White, got hurt again early in the season for the third consecutive year. It’s speculated that Fox’s run first offense and lack of playmakers hurt Trubisky last season. 

The 2018 season is a new year for Trubisky as he looks to take a step forward with his new head coach, who is a huge supporter of him. Nagy said in his introductory press conference back in January that Trubisky played a significant part in him coming to Chicago. Nagy saw Trubisky during the 2017 NFL draft combine, and was very impressed with him throughout the draft process. Nagy pointed out that Trubisky’s intelligence, humbleness, and athletic ability caught his attention. Nagy also pointed out that the young talent accumulated by GM Ryan Pace also intrigued him into coming to Chicago.

The Bears defense was a top ten defense last season led by defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Most of Fangio’s defensive starters from last year are still intact to begin this season. Akiem Hicks, Kyle Fuller, and Leonard Floyd highlight the returning starters on the Bears defense this season. The Bears defense also added some more firepower to an already strong defense by drafting Roquan Smith out of Georgia, with the number eight overall pick in this year’s draft. Smith is a highly touted middle linebacker out of the University of Georgia. The Bears also made very surprising and aggressive move over Labor Day weekend and traded for superstar pass rusher, Kahlil Mack, from the Oakland Raiders. The Bears traded away their first-round picks in the next two years drafts along with a 2020 third and sixth round pick. The Bears didn’t only receive Mack, they also received the Raiders 2020 second and fifth round picks. Mack has forty career sacks in his first four years in the NFL. Mack had a record breaking first half in his Bears debut last Sunday night as he had a pick six, a sack, and a forced fumble. He instantly becomes the Bears most impactful player. The Bears also signed wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, who has big play potential and lightning speed. The Bears also added tight end Trey Burton, who is coming off a very successful season for the Philadelphia Eagles last season after winning a super bowl. 

The Bears offense hopes to be revamped, their defense looks to bring back “ The Monsters of the Midway” mentality, and the new coaching staff hopes to bring a winning culture back to Chicago. The Bears play in a tough division with quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford still producing at high levels for the Packers and Lions. The Vikings defense was ranked the number two defense in football last season and upgraded their quarterback position with the signing of Kirk Cousins. The Bears are going to have an uphill battle in the NFC North this year, but it could be a very exciting year for the Bears as they believe they are ready to compete in the NFC North. The Bears believe they have their franchise quarterback, the right head coach, a revamped high-powered offense, and one of the best defenses in the league. These are four reasons to have hope and be excited for the 2018 Chicago Bears season, despite the loss in week one. The Bears will travel home to take on the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football at 7:00, in week two of the 2018 NFL season. Football is back!

Andrew Braddy, Reporter

Andrew Braddy is a senior at Griffith High School and this is his sixth semester being on staff. Andrew enjoys writing sports stories and wants to be a...

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NFL Season Kicks Off