The Chicago Bears are entering the 2019 campaign with lofty expectations, but it’s not because of their offense… or Allen Robinson in particular.
The Bears are known for their stout defense, which is led by stud linebacker Khalil Mack, who is easily one of the most dominant defensive players in the NFL.
Offensively, Chicago has a lot of question marks.
Mitchell Trubisky is entering the moment of truth in his third season. Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis will be sharing a backfield for the first time with the departure of Jordan Howard. The receiver corps, while talented, are not all that proven.
That’s why wide receiver Allen Robinson could be the top X-factor for the Bears this season.
In 13 games in 2018, Robinson hauled in 55 receptions for 754 yards and four touchdowns, and while he was behind Taylor Gabriel in catches, he led the team in receiving yards.
The problem with Robinson has been his health.
He missed three contests this past season as a result of hip and rib issues, and he played in just one game with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017 before tearing his ACL.
Going back even further than that, Robinson appeared in just one contest during his rookie year in 2014 due to a stress fracture in his foot.
We have seen what a healthy Robinson can do.
In his second season, he caught 80 passes for 1,400 yards and a league-leading 14 touchdowns in a breakout year that made Robinson seem primed to become one of the best wideouts in football.
Since then, he has posted underwhelming results, and that has largely been due to shaky health.
Now, however, Robinson is fully healthy for the first time in two years. Since he could become Trubisky’s No. 1 target in the passing game this coming season, he may be in for a big 2019.
He has to have a big year for the Bears to truly reach their potential.
While defense is certainly vital, the Bears need some semblance of an offense to compete. Chicago was far too inconsistent on that side of the ball in 2018.
Much of that has to do with the fact that Trubisky hadn’t found his footing yet, but another issue was the lack of overall productivity among the Bears’ receivers.
Sure, Gabriel is important, too, and second-year wideout Anthony Miller seems like a potential breakout candidate, but Robinson is the king of that group of receivers, meaning it’s up to him to set the stone from the get-go.
This is not asking too much from Robinson. We know this kid has it in him; he totaled 1,400 yards with Blake Bortles as his quarterback in 2015. Why can’t he do it with Trubisky and a great offensive line in the Windy City?
That’s not to say we should expect 1,400 yards out of Robinson again, because that would probably be asking too much, but I see no reason why he can’t finish with 1,000 yards as long as he stays healthy for all 16 games.
The Bears have a chance to have a solid offense in 2019 if Trubisky continues to improve and someone like Robinson separates himself as the team’s clear No. 1 receiver.
If that happens, Chicago is unquestionably a Super Bowl contender.