Snaps Lost: Chicago Bears
The “Snaps Lost” series is a detailed look at the playing time void created by players that have left each team this offseason, whether they were traded, cut, left in free agency, or retired.
Because each unit plays a different number of snaps over the course of the year, we have created the “Full Time Equivalent metric”. FTE is the total number of missing snaps divided by the number of plays the team ran on that side of the ball. This is an equivalent measure of how many full time players (100% snap count) the team would need to add on to make up for their offseason losses, even though very few players actually play a full snap count.
For example, if a team had 1,100 snaps on offense and then lost seven players who combined to play 2,200 snaps, their FTE would be 2.0 (2,200/1,100). This ensures that a team who lost a high volume of players only has a high FTE if those players racked up some significant playing time. FTE can only fall between zero (no players left the team) and 11 (fire everyone!) for each side of the ball.
Each team will have a ranking following their FTE, with the first-ranked team in each category (offense, defense, and total) representing the team with the smallest portion of their playing time in need of replacement.
A few caveats before getting into the good stuff:
-Suspensions and injuries that may limit 2015 snap counts are not considered.
-Biggest Losses are purely in terms of snap count, not necessarily in terms of impact.
-All snap counts are Regular Season only.
Overall FTE Lost: 5.18, 16th
FTE Lost: 2.66, 16th
Biggest Losses: Brandon Marshall (773), Roberto Garza (770), Brian De La Puente (501), Josh Morgan (436)
Summary – Ten different wideouts saw the field last year for Chicago, but only four of them return this year as Marshall was traded to the Jets and Morgan was allowed to leave as a free agent. Garza’s tenure with the team ended when he was cut in April. His backup, De La Puente, who also filled in at guard, was not picked up for another year despite a very strong showing at center (+8.2) over the first five weeks when Garza went down.
Replacement Plan – Former Redskin and Bronco Will Montgomery should lock down the starting center position after a solid year in Denver (+4.2). Replacing Marshall won’t be easy, but they hit wide receiver early in the draft, where Kevin White should be an immediate contributor. Eddie Royal was also brought in from San Diego and will likely end up as the team’s third wideout, suiting up for at least as many plays as Morgan did a year ago. De La Puente was the team’s sixth lineman, so good health along the line should be enough to fill his shoes.
FTE Lost: 2.52, 12th
Biggest Losses: Stephen Paea (709), Chris Conte (474), Lance Briggs (461), D.J. Williams (417)
Summary – Paea and his +14.4 grade left for solid money in Washington. After ending 2014 on I.R., Briggs saw his storied career in Chicago finally come to an end at age 34. The aging Williams found himself in similar waters, as the Bears allowed their older linebacker corps to try to find new teams in 2015. It’s unlikely that too many Bears fans will be upset about the loss of Conte, though his performance (in 2014, at least), wasn’t quite as bad as some made it out to be.
Replacement Plan – Second round pick Eddie Goldman will get every chance to make an impact on the defensive line, and the freshly signed Jarvis Jenkins will be another body along the defensive front. Antrel Rolle was brought in on a three-year deal in the hopes he could be an every down player and if he is, Conte’s departure would be covered. It gets murkier at linebacker, where the team is looking at more of Jon Bostic, though they brought in Mason Foster from Tampa Bay, and Christian Jones will take another stab at the starting lineup in 2015.