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Bear Facts for the Future, Distant and Otherwise

Analysis: So much for all of that Joe Brady as Bears head coach talk, as a season without much meaning plods along at Halas Hall.

The time for closely analyzing Bears games ends when a team is tied for the fifth worst record in the league, two games out of the playoffs and with six other teams ahead of them fighting for that last playoff spot.

It's difficult to just sit and wait for season-ending change now, too, because the Bears still have five games remaining.

Players say the games still carry meaning to them.

"For us, it's about, you know, being a professional and going out here and doing your job and coming in every day and still trying to get better," linebacker Alec Ogletree said.

It's the truth, but it's also boring for impatient, angry fans.

Here are some other Bear projections some bored, impatient, angry Bears fans may not like.

1. Justin Fields Will Be a Year 2 Mystery

Although Fields has started eight games, he just began to gain consistency and then had his progress halted by injury. Even if he comes back this week—and that's a strong if considering how painful broken ribs can be—it's going to take a week or two just to get back into the flow like he was earlier, and then he'll be able to move forward. The Bears will know some things about their franchise quarterback, but they will not know he has arrived as a proven starter by next season. It's going to be much like the Mitchell Trubisky situation, with a quarterback who flashed some skills, a new head coach and a new system in Year 2.

2. Bears Need Receiver Help

Darnell Mooney's consecutive 100-yard game streak ended short of tying the Bears mark of three straight and it's apparent he has much growing to do yet before he is on Allen Robinson's level. Mooney still remains a good No. 2. The Bears will need to come up with someone talented enough in the draft or free agency to be No. 1, someone who isn't breaking the bank. Or they need another draft pick at Mooney's level or better from an early round of the draft. The reason for this: They need to preserve money to give extensions to 1) Roquan Smith, 2) James Daniels, 3) David Montgomery, 4) Bilal Nichols or Akiem Hicks. None of those options include keeping Robinson. Even then, the Bears can't go another year without investing heavily somewhere at receiver because Mooney is the only one they have under contract on their entire roster for 2022.

3. Matt Nagy is Making Right Call on Teven Jenkins

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Everyone wants to see Teven Jenkins play and probably at some point he will during the final two or three games. However, the fewer times the Bears put Justin Fields on the field with his blind side protected by a rookie who had no training camp or preseason, and just came on the active roster in Week 13 after back surgery, the better. If the Bears wanted to bench Larry Borom and use Jenkins, it would be totally acceptable. Right tackle is not his blind side and Fields can more easily escape blown blocks on the right side. However, they eventually intend on Jenkins playing the left side. Left tackle Jason Peters is playing too well to yank him and it's not worth risking blindside cave-ins for Fields with a completely untested rookie.

4. Apathy Reigns

There were at least 12,000 to 15,000 no-shows for Sunday's loss and who can blame them considering the rain, wind and cold but the other reasons are the pathetic 4-8 record, the fact Justin Fields isn't even playing and veteran stars like Allen Robinson, Akiem Hicks and Khalil Mack are sidelined, as well. There is no exact figure because the Bears didn't reveal it at the game. They revealed only tickets sold, when they formerly gave out tickets sold and tickets used. That crowd for the Arizona game will seem like Disney World on a day when they give out free tickets compared to the gathering they'll have when the final two Bears home games are played. Colder weather, less interesting opponents, losing and Matt Nagy add up to a half-empty Soldier Field. At  least no one will be there to boo and chant "fire Nagy." Fan apathy is no asset when you want to find partners with big bankrolls to help fund a new Arlington Heights stadium.

5. Joe Brady Needs Bears More Than They Need Him 

So-called insiders hailed Brady the next big head coaching prospect and a possible next Bears coach but after his firing on Monday as Matt Rhule's offensive coordinator he is more likely to be an assistant of some kind in the NFL or a coordinator or head coach at a lower level of football. It makes little difference that he was interviewed for head coach with the Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets and Houston Texans. Brady's offensive credentials had been solid but this year Carolina is 28th on offense, 23rd in scoring. It's not much better than the Bears are now. What would be the point of hiring someone like this as head coach? The speculation on Brady for the Bears centered around his two-year tie to New Orleans, and GM Ryan Pace being in Chicago as a former Saints personnel man. But Pace left the Saints two years before Brady arrived. Pro Football Talk seems convinced Brady remains a head coaching prospect this year. Maybe in some other level of football, like the new USFL or the Spring League or something, but it won't be with the Bears. It would be an extremely tough sell for George McCaskey to announce a 32-year-old "Wunderkind" as new head coach after Matt Nagy failed and after Brady was fired as a coordinator. The Bears need an experienced, proven head coach now, someone like Josh McDaniels who has been an NFL head coach, an extremely successful coordinator and trainer of quarterbacks. Or they need Doug Pederson, who won a Super Bowl and is still young enough to care about winning another one, unlike John Fox was when he came to the Bears.

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