I never want to be considered a fan that only looks at my team through rose-colored glasses. Obviously when you’re a fan, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between what’s cheering for a team and what’s being a biased fan. I try to be the guy that cheers for my team, but recognizes its issues and deficiencies. As I left Solder Field today, I am not quite sure what to make of the Chicago Bears.
Look, a win is a win in the NFL. This isn’t like college where there’s that much of a discrepency between the top and bottom teams. So when the Bears found a way to get a 23-22 win over the Carolina Panthers, I’m not going to complain. But at the same time, I cannot ignore this team’s issues.
Why do the Bears refuse to consistently run the football? When they do it, they do it well. But they’ll get slowed down and then decide to abandon it. While I respect the talents of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, this needs to be a running football team. By controlling the clock, winning the field position battle and not making mistakes on offense, it allows the defense to do what it does best. The Bears have one of the best combinations at running back with Matt Forte and Michael Bush. So why not use it more often?
When the offense turns the football over or has short drives, the defense has added pressure. While this unit continues to play well, they cannot be expected to be perfect. Today proved that the Bears defense will give up points. All of this can be helped by keeping these guys fresh with long and sustained drives.
The Bears coaching staff made some adjustments at halftime and improved the protection for Cutler. But as we’ve seen throughout his tenure in Chicago, Cutler takes a beating. As the Bears proved last season, they’re done without Cutler. The same can be said for any other contending team, but I’m worried about the Bears. They’ve got to find a way to keep him from being sacked six times. That happened against a mediocre Panther’s defense. With some better defenses on the horizon, the Bears have to get better pass protection. As it stands, I am just not sure if Cutler will last the season.
I love the Bears defense. We’ve seen this unit get after quarterbacks, cause turnovers and score points. But let’s also be realistic. The Bears aren’t going to get all these pick-sixes every week. Points need to come from the offense. And as we’ve seen the past few weeks, the offense isn’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard.
Devin Hester is struggling in the return game. Even when he gets returnable kicks, his explosiveness just isn’t there. While he isn’t turning the football over, the Bears need Hester to become a playmaker again on special teams. It gives them a huge advantage and has to improve. I’m not sure what his issue is this season, but the Bears need this part of their game to improve as well.
With nine games left, the Bears are sitting pretty at 6-1 and on top of the NFC North. But the Green Bay Packers are still a dangerous team and seem to have things moving in the right direction. While the Bears have the best record in the division, I cannot say that they’re the best team. So are the Bears Super Bowl contenders? As of tonight, the answer is maybe. And that isn’t what I want to think or hear.
That’s all for now. Follow me on Twitter @ChicagoBearJew and Hashtag #RML with your thoughs.