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Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions hope to start strong after disappointing years

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, left, talks with fellow QB David Blough during a training camp practice at their team headquarters in Allen Park on Aug. 26. (AP file photo)

By LARRY LAGE

AP Sports Writer

DETROIT — The Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions will kick off their seasons in the Motor City, desperately hoping to bounce back from disappointment.

Chicago’s quest seems a little less challenging.

The Bears did win eight games last year, but missed the playoffs for the eighth time in nine years. Chicago failed to follow up successfully on coach Matt Nagy’s debut season in which he led the franchise to 12 wins and the NFC North title. A shaky offense, ranked No. 29 in the league, was the the Bears’ biggest problem.

Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will have a chance to turn around the offense after holding off 2018 Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to keep his job.

Nagy insisted he won’t be itching to make a change under center, but will if Trubisky isn’t helping the team score touchdowns.

“If that time ever comes down the road, it comes, but our focus isn’t there,” Nagy said.

The Lions, meanwhile, closed 2019 with nine straight setbacks to finish with three victories in the franchise’s worst season in a decade. And if general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patrica don’t at least help the team contend for a spot in the playoffs, they probably won’t be back in 2021.

Detroit hired Cory Undlin as defensive coordinator and added several veterans in the offseason to help a unit that ranked No. 31 in the NFL.

“We know what the Lions were last year, but we’re here to change that,” said Detroit defensive tackle Nick Williams, who had a career-high six sacks in Chicago last season.

Adrian Peterson is expected to be in Detroit’s backfield just four days after his first practice with the team.

The four-time All-Pro running back was cut by Washington after rushing for 898 yards last season and chose to reunite with Detroit’s offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, whom he played for in Minnesota a decade ago.