The Bears have not been quiet about their lofty goals in 2019, which include winning a Super Bowl and being the best defense of all-time. They’re well aware that they have a hard road ahead even after going 12-4 last season, as HC Matt Nagy put together a presentation showing just how easy it is for playoff teams to regress.
“That presentation showed that it’s so much harder to get just one more win, percentage-wise, than it is to fall off,” Bears DT Akiem Hicks said via USA Today’s Lorenzo Reyes. “These numbers are all based on statistics, so it really hit home.”
Chicago went 6-4 in games decided by a touchdown or less, meaning a few different bounces of the ball and their record looks considerably different. The Bears also face the challenge of replacing DC Vic Fangio, who left for the head coaching job with the Broncos. Hicks says the team is undaunted, however.
“What we got from it is that it’s really up to us,” Hicks said. “It’s up to us to decide, whether or not we want to be as dominant as we were last year. We can go as high as – and this is going to sound cliché – we can go as high as we want to go. We can be as dominant as we want to be. It’s just a matter of us taking the time out of everything else and sacrificing to make our team and our defense and our offense one of the best to play this game.”
The Lions made reshaping their tight end corps a major priority this offseason, adding TE Jesse James in free agency and TE T.J. Hockenson with the No. 8 overall pick. Detroit rounded out the room with Logan Thomas in the second wave of free agency and Isaac Nauta in the late rounds.
“I think that whole room has been a big upgrade in all ways,” Lions OC Darrell Bevell said via Tim Twentyman of the official team website. “From Jesse to T.J. to Logan… it’s a great group for us to work with to kind of sift through those guys and find out what they’re doing well. But that’s a talented group. We’re really excited about all of those guys.”
“I think it’s going to give us the ability to do a lot of things,” Bevell added. “We’ll still use our three wideouts as well. All the personnel groups, I think you’ll be able to see a lot of those. They (the tight ends) give us a lot of flexibility.”