By JEFF DICKERSON
The Bears have been brutal to watch lately, but here are five reasons why Bears fans should follow their team the last three weeks:
Devin Aromashodu and Johnny Knox: The wide receiver duo combined for 13 catches, 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns versus Green Bay. It stands to reason Jay Cutler will continue to look their way in the final three games, which should give us a glimpse of the 2010 passing attack. Of course, Devin Hester may return from a calf injury in Baltimore, and that could potentially throw a wrench in the works. But if the Bears were able to add a quality receiver in the offseason to pair with Aromashodu and Knox, then use Earl Bennett as a possession guy, maybe the offense could improve. Hester could compete for the No. 1 spot while concentrating on returns. Anything would be better then what we saw from the offense in 2009.
Chris Williams: If Williams can't play left tackle, then the Bears are in major trouble. The former first-round pick did a decent job against St. Louis, but struggled mightily versus Green Bay. He has a chance to redeem himself when the Bears face a dangerous Ravens defense this weekend. Or there's a chance Williams gets Jay Cutler killed. Either way, better to find out now. Left tackles don't grow on trees, and the Bears used a first-round pick on Williams in 2008 -- something the Bears don't have in this upcoming draft. If Williams doesn't pan out, the Bears could always pin their hopes on rookie Lance Louis, who has shown the ability to dominate Gaines Adams during practices.
Jay Cutler: Will Cutler break Sid Luckman's record for single-season interceptions? Or will the quarterback, who seems to favor Aromashodu and Knox, perform like the franchise player we all expect him to be? One thing about Cutler, he's always compelling. Whether he's throwing another bad interception, hitting Knox for a perfect touchdown strike, yelling at the officials, moving up in the pocket and throwing a strike downfield, or picking himself up after another sack, this guy is a must-see.
Matt Forte: Forte ran with some authority against Green Bay, accumulating 51 yards on just 12 attempts. Most view this as a completely lost season for the second-year running back, but it would be nice if Forte could finish on a high note. He's still a young player, who did run for 1,238 yards as a rookie. It would be foolish for the Bears to throw in the towel with Forte, especially when you consider all the extenuating circumstances that led to this disaster of a ground game. There is a chance the offensive line and play calling won't allow Forte to carry the ball much in the last few weeks, but restoring his confidence has to be a priority in 2010.
Jarron Gilbert: This is a leap of faith, because in order for Gilbert to show something, he has to be active on Sunday. Enough with Gaines Adams, it's time to let Gilbert work a little at defensive end in the final three games. With Adewale Ogunleye headed towards free agency, and Mark Anderson heading towards another mediocre season, it's time for the Bears to see a small return on their third-round investment. Maybe Gilbert turns out to be as bad as Adams, that's certainly possible given the Bears struggles in the draft. But we have to find out. Adams was given a chance to play a little and did nothing. Gilbert deserves a similar opportunity.