Now that the Rams' 2021 schedule is officially out, it's time to resume our offseason opponent breakdowns on theRams.com. The series kicks off with Los Angeles' Week 1 home-opening opponent, the Chicago Bears (Sept. 12, 5:20 p.m. PT on NBC).
Bringing in veteran Nick Foles via trade to compete with incumbent Mitch Trubisky for the starting quarterback job, the Bears went with Trubisky at the start of the season.
While Trubisky helped the Bears win their first two games, Foles would be named their starter beginning Week 4 after replacing a struggling Trubisky and leading them to a comeback win over the Falcons in Week 3. However, Foles endured his share of inconsistent play, too, over the next seven weeks, as Chicago went 2-5 during that span.
Trubisky was named the starter again after a hip/glute injury knocked Foles out of Chicago's Week 10 game against Minnesota and didn't heal in time over the bye week to allow him to play against the Packers in Week 12.
All told, the Bears' 3-3 finish to the season was enough clinch a playoff spot. Despite losing to the Packers in their regular season-finale and finishing 8-8, they managed to claim the seventh seed in the NFC with the Cardinals falling to the Rams that same day. The No. 11 total defense in the NFL was not enough for Chicago to overcome its uneven quarterback play in the postseason, though, as it fell to the New Orleans Saints 21-9 in the wild card round of the playoffs.
The Bears' most notable moves came at quarterback. During the 2020 offseason, they declined Trubisky's fifth-year option in his rookie contract and later let the 2017 No. 2 overall pick walk in free agency. They brought in veteran Andy Dalton on a 1-year deal this offseason, then chose former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields 11th overall in the draft.
Chicago also released former starting left tackle Charles Leno Jr. after drafting former Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins in the second round.
On defense, the Bears released two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Kyle Fuller and replaced him with Desmond Trufant on a one-year deal.
Matt Nagy is in his fourth season as head coach of the Bears, compiling a 28-20 regular season record through his first three seasons with the franchise. Chicago has qualified for the playoffs twice so far during Nagy's tenure.
What to watch for
Rams defense vs. whoever starts at quarterback for the Bears
Will the Rams see Dalton or Fields under center in Week 1?
Both quarterbacks have different skillsets, with Fields' mobility perhaps offering more upside. However, as talented as Fields is, letting him loose against reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and the league's reigning No. 1 defense may not be the wisest way to help him learn on the job unless the Bears are comfortable with a trial-by-fire approach.. So in that context, it wouldn't come as a shock if Dalton started against the Rams on Sunday Night Football.
If Fields does get the start, Los Angeles' defense can lean on its experience defending players with similar skillsets like Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson to come up with a gameplan.