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Chicago Bears 2023 NFL Season Preview: Success Rides on Justin Fields

Justin Fields

As teams head to training camp and the NFL season approaches, The 33rd Team asks its experts to preview every team's outlook for the 2023 season. In this installment, Greg Jennings takes a deep dive into the Chicago Bears

Editor's Note: After publish, the Bears signed edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue to a 1-Year deal worth 10.5 million

>> READ: Bears Fantasy Football Team Preview

Bears Team Preview

What To Know: Offense

The Bears' most important offensive storyline is how quarterback Justin Fields and the passing game will progress. We know they believe in Fields because of the offseason moves they made. But will he develop in the passing game?

That development is not solely on Fields. It's on Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. It's about how well Getsy prepares and what is put around Fields. We saw them acquire receivers, lock up tight end Cole Kmet, a piece they feel strongly about, and bring in offensive linemen.

This is about the totality of the offense, protecting their No. 1 asset (Fields) and allowing him to showcase his obvious skill set. How well Fields' skill set translates to the field remains to be seen.

What To Know: Defense

The Bears' defense needs to apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks with their front four.

They signed linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who is a good leader and a guy who can move other players in a position to be successful pre-snap. However, they struggle across the board in the secondary.

Whether or not their front four can generate pressure on the quarterback and alleviate some pressure on the backend will be a huge factor in the team's success.

Biggest Off-Field Storyline

It was their decision to say, "Fields is our guy" and not pursue a guy such as Bryce Young or some of these other young quarterbacks who were drafted in Round 1. Instead, the Bears acquired players like wide receiver DJ Moore to ensure they are placing pieces around the guy they believe is their future quarterback.

General manager Ryan Poles made some great, decisive decisions. And when you are decisive, you're sending the message to the guys in the locker room that you believe in who we have, and we're going to put the pieces strategically in place. They've had a great offseason making decisions to support who they already had in the locker room. Now, Fields just has to deliver.

Breakout Player Prediction

This obvious pick is CB Jaylon Johnson. He missed some games last season, but he has shown early in his career he can cover any receiver.

Johnson understands what is expected of him in the NFL already. He understands how to dissect offensive schemes. The former Utah cornerback can become one of the better cornerbacks in all of football. Again, it helps when your defensive line can apply pressure on the quarterback, so you don't have to cover for long periods of time. But Johnson is one individual who hasn't quite maxed out his potential.

Moves the Bears Can Make

The Bears, who signed guard Nate Davis on the opening day of free agency, need to continue to address the interior of their offensive line. They gave up 55 sacks last year, which led the NFL along with the Denver Broncos. You've got to protect what you're building around, and that's Fields.

On the defensive side, they need to get after the opposing team's quarterback more. They were in the bottom five at producing sacks. That, again, puts a lot of pressure on the secondary to cover for longer than everyone else.

The offensive and defensive lines have to be areas they're continually looking to address. Whether it's players improving on their roster or a player from one of the other 31 teams, they need to keep looking at additions they can make in the trenches.

2023 Season Expectations

They are a potential longshot to make the playoffs. They're in the NFC North, so there is a chance if all things work out great for this team and Fields lives up to his potential as a passer, this team has a chance to make the playoffs, but it's still a longshot.

Other Previews

NFC East: DAL | NYG  | PHI | WAS

NFC North: GB | MIN | DET

AFC East: BUF | MIA | NE  | NYJ

AFC North: PIT | CLE | BAL | CIN

AFC West: KC | LAC | LV | DEN

NFC West: SF | SEA | LAR | ARI

NFC South: TB | CAR | NO | ATL 

AFC South: JAX | TEN | HOU | IND  

Greg Jennings is a former NFL wide receiver who played for the Packers, Vikings and Dolphins. A two-time Pro Bowl player, Jennings was a member of the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV championship team and was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter @GregJennings.