This was one of the many things that bugged me during the Matt Nagy era. The weekly guessing game on captains.
Nagy treated it like it was a fifth-grade Pop Warner team. Everyone gets a chance to be a captain. One week it was the starting quarterback. The next it was a backup guard. Or it was a guy who was just promoted to the active roster.
With that trend, I thought I could be named a captain next week.
The captain designation may be a formality to some, but it’s a real thing. There are leaders on a team and in the locker room. Those captains hold people accountable and younger players look up to them.
Eberflus hasn’t said anything on captains yet or how they will be appointed or if the “C” patches will come back. But it’s clear some players need to step up in the locker room with all of the coaching changes going on.
This is my best guess as to who would be named a captain for the Chicago Bears. Obviously, I don’t know these guys personally or what they are like behind the scenes. We only see them in games and talking to the media so we’ll never know fully how they are around the guys.
This is a no brainer. The starting quarterback on all 32 teams should be the captain. It’s a part of being a quarterback. You have to be a leader and command the huddle. That’s a trait you have to have.
Fields enters year two as the unquestioned starter. He’ll be developing not only as a player, but as a quarterback in the NFL. His understanding of the offense will lead to him directing traffic and making plays in 2022.
Oh captain, my captain.
Even though it’s his first year in Chicago, Patrick brings a level of professionalism and experience to the team that no one else does. The biggest thing is that he knows Getsy’s offense having played under him in Green Bay.
Wherever he lines up, whether it be at guard or center, he will no question be a leader on the line. He has also spoken highly of Fields and expressed how excited he was to get to work with him. The praise for the man you protect speaks to his high character and willingness to put it all on the line.
If Montgomery is named a captain, it will tell us just how much the Bears value him. An interesting side note with Montgomery due for an extension.
Already in his fourth year in the league, Montgomery’s role in the offense is solidified. Even if Herbert increases his snap count in 2022, Montgomery will be the preferred back (barring injury).
The Bears like Montgomery. We like Montgomery. He’s well respected in the locker room and will certainly grow into a leadership role in 2022, especially if an extension comes his way.
Another easy decision. He’s another player due for an extension but unlike Montgomery, there is little question he should be re-signed. The linebacker position may not have as much value as it once did, but if you’re one of the best at your position and consistently put up good numbers, an extension is worthy.
Smith will no doubt be a player Eberflus highlights on his defense. He had Darius Leonard in Indianapolis, so he knows what to ask of his middle linebacker.
A leadership role will come easy to Roquan, who will now be working under his third defensive coordinator in Chicago. His knowledge and excellence through those years will make him a vocal leader.
Heavily criticized at times for his effort and tackling in 2021, we know the talent Jackson has. An All-Pro in 2018, Jackson has yet to recapture the success he had in his second year in the league.
Perhaps a new head coach, a defensive one at that, who will challenge him on his effort, is the boost Jackson needs to get back on track.
He was at his best when the safety alongside him played closer to the box, allowing Jackson to roam down the field and sniff out plays. The Bears envision Jackson going back to that role in 2022 with the addition of rookie Jaquan Brisker.
Not only can Jackson mentor Brisker, he can help the other rookie in the secondary, Kyler Gordon. Both first-year players will have the luxury of playing alongside a former All-Pro, who’s still in his prime.
It comes down to Jackson’s willingness to teach and lead, which I think he will.
I went for an under the radar selection with DeAndre Houstin-Carson. DHC was one of the few bright spots on the team in 2021, being thrust into action with a banged up secondary throughout the year.
With some additions to the secondary (youthful ones at that), DHC figures to go back to a special teams role, occasionally seeing the field on defense. But don’t underestimate the value of special teams.
Sherrick McManis was the last player we saw in Chicago be that guy to be a special teams ace while playing some defensive snaps. That’s essentially the role DHC should occupy but can still have an impact off the field and in the locker room.
Notable Omissions – Robert Quinn, Jaylon Johnson, Patrick Scales
Robert Quinn is probably the biggest omission from the list. He’s the most experienced player on the roster and one of the most productive last year.
But he isn’t a part of the long term plans. There have been some rumors floating around that Quinn wants to find a new home and you can’t blame him. His age and production in 2021 is better suited for a contender.
That’s not to say he isn’t an important part of this defense. His demeanor is more of a “lead by example” type, coming across as an extremely humble guy. Let’s not forget, his 2020 campaign was not good and many kicked the tires on him going into 2021.
But he’s still around and will be counted on to produce, that is if the Bears don’t explore any trades.
Johnson still has a little to prove before he can step into a leadership role. Last year, he was fined for showing up late to practice (proved to be nothing more than a social media story) and questioned the effort of some guys towards the end of last year.
But in saying those things, it shows he cares. He improved in 2021 and will be lining up against the opponent’s top receiver each week.
For Scales, he’s 34-years old, been in the league seven years (six with Chicago) and is a positive locker room influence. The guys that stick around for that long through three different head coaches are usually around for a reason.