It has been nearly three years since MIKE GLENNON started an NFL game, but when last seen with the Buccaneers he had improved at playing with defenders in his face. That's a critical trait for an NFL quarterback, especially a pocket passer who is not particularly mobile. Glennon, who signed a three-year, $45 million deal in March, surely didn't love it when the Bears traded up to draft MITCHELL TRUBISKY of North Carolina. But the 27-year-old will have his opportunities, and if he plays well he'll be a starting QB (somewhere) in 2018.
• Who will be the targets for Glennon (or Trubisky)? With Alshon Jeffery gone to Philadelphia, Chicago has no No. 1 receiver. KEVIN WHITE, a '15 first-rounder who was seen as a project out of West Virginia, where he always lined up on the right side, has played just four games in two seasons because of left leg injuries. And when White has been on the field he has looked slow and stiff, though that could be because he wasn't fully healthy.
• Second-year back JORDAN HOWARD is the best all-around zone runner in football. He can be a sustaining, defender-dragging ballcarrier on inside zone runs, working behind double teams. And he has a superb feel for turning the corner on outside zone runs, which make up the bulk of the Bears' rushing attack. To play to this, the Bears like to feed Howard on pitches and sweeps.
• Eighteen-year NFL defensive coordinator VIC FANGIO, in his third season with Chicago, prefers subtly disguised zone coverages, usually with two safeties deep. That means he can't blitz often, which is why it's important that the Bears have an effective four-man pass rush. LEONARD FLOYD, their first-round pick in '16, has the length and athleticism to become a 15-sack-a-year guy.
• If you're a two-high-safety zone defense with decent edge rushers, your defenders naturally have eyes on the quarterback and the ball, making it easier to generate turnovers by jumping routes and going for strip-fumbles after the catch. But the Bears, despite being zone-based, forced 11 turnovers last season, tied for the least in NFL history. If that doesn't improve, Chicago will draft in the top five again in '18.
"HOWARD CAN BE A SUSTAINING, DEFENDER-DRAGGING BALLCARRIER, AND HE HAS A FEEL FOR TURNING THE CORNER."
SI'S 2017 PREDICTION
2016 RECORD 3--13
ANDY BENOIT'S 400 MMQB ON.SI.COM/400
59 KYLE LONG G
111 JORDAN HOWARD RB
213 AKIEM HICKS DE
214 JOSH SITTON G
232 LEONARD FLOYD OLB
247 WILLIE YOUNG OLB
255 PERNELL MCPHEE OLB
362 JAYE HOWARD DE