Streaking/Slumping: Week 3
September, 29, 2010
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com
AP PhotosBrian Urlacher has been all over the field while Zack Bowman might see less of it.STREAKING
1. Devin Hester, WR, PR:
Hester tops this list for the second consecutive week. After making a mark at receiver against the Cowboys a week prior, Hester showed he’s still arguably the most dangerous return man in the league. Hester returned three punts for 93 yards against the Packers, including one for a 62-yard touchdown to start the fourth quarter that gave the Bears their first lead of the night. Hester continues to show he’s capable of contributing significantly on offense and special teams. With 12 career kick return TDs in the regular season (eight punts, four kickoffs), Hester needs only one more return TD to tie Brian Mitchell’s all-time record.
2. Greg Olsen, TE: Pundits considered Olsen trade bait in the offseason, and declared him a misfit in Mike Martz’s offensive system. But so far, Olsen is quieting the skeptics. Coming into Monday night’s game, Olsen had hauled in five passes for 76 yards. Well, the tight end nearly matched that production in one night against the Packers, catching five of the six passes thrown his way for 64 yards and a touchdown. Of all the weapons at quarterback Jay Cutler’s disposal, Olsen could potentially be the most dangerous because of the matchup problems he presents (too athletic for linebackers to cover, too big for safeties).
3. Brian Urlacher, LB: Weakside linebacker Lance Briggs could easily fill this spot, based on his production. But Urlacher gets the nod here, primarily because of the impact play he made at the end of Monday night’s matchup, which basically won the game for the Bears. In three consecutive weeks, Urlacher has posted no fewer than nine tackles in every outing. In addition, he’s posted a sack, six tackles for lost yardage, and forced a fumble, in addition to recovering another. More importantly, Urlacher appears to be as mobile as ever -- despite his age -- which is the main reason the Bears can successfully cover the deep middle zone between the safeties in their Tampa-2 scheme. SLUMPING
1. Tommie Harris, DT:: Based on Harris’ production in the first two games (1 tackle, two quarterback hits), the staff’s decision to make him inactive for the Packers game would seem like a no brainer. But the deeper issue to explore is why he’s not producing at a higher level. Harris received plenty of publicity throughout the offseason and training camp for his newfound practice availability, which had been hindered almost every year up this one due to various injuries. So for Harris, the extra practice seems to have amounted to less production. Perhaps Harris’ near-perfect attendance for workout sessions is wearing him down, and actually hurting his performances in games.
2. Devin Aromashodu, WR: Cutler directed 10 passes Aromashodu’s way in the opener. Now, not only can the receiver not get on the field, he can’t even strap on the pads. The Bears limited Aromashodu to only one snap against the Cowboys, before placing him on the list of inactives for Monday night’s game against the Packers. Aromashodu insists he doesn’t know exactly what he’s done wrong. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz, meanwhile, implied last week that Aromashodu -- despite him spending a good portion of the offseason working at the position -- didn't know what he was doing operating out of the slot. This one seems a little fishy to us. Our belief is the Bears are a better team with Aromashodu on the field.
3. Zack Bowman, CB: The Bears made it a point in the offseason to publicize the fact they were moving the third-year veteran to the left side, which in the Tampa-2 scheme, is where the top corner plays. Then, against the Packers, the staff decided to bench its supposed No. 1 cornerback after just two series. While Bowman made a couple of mistakes in coverage and missed a tackle early in the game, the decision to bench him for the rest of the game in favor of Tim Jennings seems a bit questionable. Besides that, what type of message does it send to the rest of the team? It’s worth pondering whether such abrupt moves will cause players to play too tight in the coming weeks. It’s believed the Bears haven’t even discussed the situation with Bowman yet, which is even more surprising.