By Chris Emma–
(CBS) The narrative surrounding this 2015 season for the Bears, soon coming to a close, is that the team’s roster lacks overall talent. Perhaps that proved to be true with Chicago’s record currently sitting at 5-9, and that cause added merit Tuesday evening.
Not one Bears player was selected to the Pro Bowl, that stemming from an announcement Tuesday evening to reveal the vote. This marks the first time since the 1998 season (1999 Pro Bowl) that this has occurred for Chicago. However, with many dropouts expected — including participants of the Super Bowl — it remains possible for a Bears player to be added in later.
In fairness, receiver Alshon Jeffery would’ve been a shoo-in for the Pro Bowl had he stayed healthy for this entire season, and tight end Martellus Bennett was the Bears’ leading receiver when he was shut down for the season due to a fracture in his ribs. Kyle Long was a Pro Bowl guard in his first two seasons but has adapted to tackle in conjunction with team necessity.
At times this season, Long has looked like an All-Pro tackle, but he has struggled as of late. Adjusting to a new position hasn’t come easy, but Long’s willingness to make the move has been commendable.
“Just trying to help this team,” Long said last Thursday. “It’s not like I came out and I was begging to play the position. They told me my job, and I’m trying to do my job to the best of my ability.”
On the other side of the ball, a case could’ve been made for Pernell McPhee, who has ranked throughout the season by Pro Football Focus as one of the NFL’s top edge rushers. However, McPhee has been hampered by a knee injury for nearly the entire season, a condition that has worsened in the final month. McPhee hasn’t been able to play his usual reps, with the Bears mixing Lamarr Houston and Willie Young in his place.
The Bears have plenty of pieces on this roster to build with for the future, but injuries and inconsistencies have diminished how progress for the long term is revealed in 2015.
In November, prior to the Bears’ game against the Broncos, coach John Fox touched on the team’s overall skill in an honest manner.
“A lot of people make a lot about the talent level and all that stuff,” Fox said. “But through experience, how you play the game, the mindset you play the game, can overcome some of those things. I just like the state of mind of our team right now.”
While the Bears have made great strides moving forward, the Pro Bowl vote pointed to the Bears’ struggles this season.