Here is this week's installment of the Bears mailbag:
1. Can you find out exactly where Jay Cutler’s statistics rank in franchise history? Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. -- Albert, Bourbonnais, Ill.
Dickerson: Albert, Cutler is the Bears’ all-time leader in passer rating (83.4), completions (1,177), attempts (1,952) and passing yards per game (224.5). He ranks second in franchise history in completion percentage (60.3), yards (13,922) and touchdowns (94). He is also tied for first with nine 300-yard passing games. Cutler will hold all of the Bears’ passing records if he signs a contract extension in the offseason, or even if he just receives the franchise tag in 2014.
2. When are you going to recognize that Matt Forte is overrated? He doesn’t have a single 100-yard rushing game this year. What a waste of money! – Peter, Topeka, Kan.
Dickerson: Factually speaking, Forte hasn’t topped 100 yards rushing in a single game this year, although he’s been over 87 yards rushing on three separate occasions in the first six weeks. But Forte’s real value stems from his versatility. Forte currently is tied for first in the NFL among running backs with 33 receptions. He is fourth in the league with 686 yards from scrimmage, and is the seventh-leading rusher in the league with 442 yards. If my memory serves me correctly, Forte has compiled 1,400 yards from scrimmage in each of his first five NFL seasons, and is on pace for 1,829 yards from scrimmage in 2013. We can argue about how much a running back should be paid based on the shelf life of the position, but I think Forte more than pulls his weight in the Bears offense.
3. Jeff, what are the weights of Shea McClellin and David Bass? I thought that McClellin was supposed to have picked up some muscle, he looked like a strong safety to me in the game against the Saints. Bass looked quick off the ball and showed good rush skills in his short stint in the game. – Craig, Visalia, Calif.
Dickerson: McClellin did gain weight in the offseason, but he lost it. The Bears list McClellin at 260 pounds, but that doesn’t mean he actually weighs 260 pounds. Regardless of McClellin’s actual weight, he doesn’t seem to be built to be a full-time defensive end in the Bears’ 4-3 defense. But there aren’t many other options. Bass is even lighter than McClellin. He is listed at 6-foot-4, 256 pounds. Bass had two tackles versus the Giants and seems to have potential. But it’s impossible to judge a player after only two games.
4. What is considered a successful season in the NFL? I ask this because Lovie Smith got fired, despite winning 10 games and having one of the best defenses in the league. – Kenny Hale, Nashville, Tenn.
Dickerson: Kenny, Lovie Smith was fired for two reasons. First, he failed to guide the Bears to the playoffs in five of his final six years. That’s an eternity in the NFL. Second, Smith was never able to put the right coaching staff together on offense. Smith went through three different offensive coordinators since 2009 --Ron Turner, Mike Martz and Mike Tice. That lack of continuity hurt the entire team, especially Cutler, who wasn’t exactly a joy to work with over the last four years. So, if a head coach makes the playoffs, he’s safe. If he misses the playoffs multiple times, he better have a firm grasp on the offense, because that is where the league is trending toward.
5. I feel pretty bad for D.J Williams. He looked like he was going to turn his career around in Chicago and get back to form when he was a playmaker on defense in Denver. I know it's still early in the season and we have yet to see how Jonathon Bostic will perform, but what does this mean for Williams' future in Chicago? -- Hubert, Champaign, Ill.
Dickerson: That’s a great question, Hubert. Williams seemed to be in a groove before he suffered the pectoral injury last Thursday night. But injuries are part of the game. The problem for Williams is that he signed only a one-year deal with the Bears, meaning he’ll be a free agent next offseason coming off an injury. At 30 years old, Williams will likely have to sign another one-year contract for around the league minimum. If Bostic turns out to be a good player, do the Bears need Williams on the roster next year? And wouldn’t Williams rather go someplace where he can compete for a starting job? Now, I hesitate to close the door entirely on Williams because I know the Bears were very pleased with his play before he got hurt. But with Bostic and Khaseem Greene being groomed to be future starting linebackers, there might not be a spot for Williams in 2014, unless James Anderson leaves via free agency or the Bears don’t feel comfortable long-term with Bostic and Greene, which seems a tad unlikely.