1. Jay Cutler, QB: With improved protection and play calling, Cutler played an interception-free game for the first time all season, while completing 75 percent of his passes for a 140.1 passer rating. It appears Cutler and the staff have stressed the need to be more judicious with the football and eliminate turnovers. Cutler has responded, and as the offense continues to evolve, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the quarterback fall into a groove similar to the one he was on in 2011 before suffering a thumb injury.
2. Brandon Marshall, WR: Averaging close to six receptions per game, Marshall eliminated the drops against the Dallas Cowboys and averaged almost 20 yards per catch. It’s a given that teams will look to take Marshall out of the offense, but the receiver and Cutler have proven that it’s a tall order. Marshall’s opportunities might diminish moving forward given the damage he’s doing to defenses. The key for him will make the most of the looks he’ll receive from Cutler.
3. Kellen Davis, TE: Davis has quietly and patiently awaited the opportunities the staff gave in the outing against the Cowboys, and averaged 20.7 yards per grab in addition to converting a crucial third down early in the game. From the standpoint of physical attributes, Davis appears to be an ideal fit for what the Bears want to do offensively. In addition, Cutler has expressed confidence in Davis, who dropped a ball early before rebounding for a big night.
1. Eric Weems, KR/WR: Billed as one of the team’s prudent moves in free agency, Weems doesn’t seem to have found a significant role on offense or special teams. Weems hasn’t caught a pass all season, and hasn’t returned a punt or a kickoff with Devin Hester as the headliner at the position. Weems has made three tackles on special teams, but it seems the Bears aren’t receiving much return on their investment (three years, $4.2 million).
2. Stephen Paea, DT: Disruptive from the start of the season, Paea contributed five tackles, half a sack and four quarterback pressures through the first three games. The Cowboys, however, found a way to neutralize Paea somewhat. But he did post a tackle for lost yardage in the victory. No matter how skilled Paea is, he won’t be a disruptive factor every week, which is totally understandable.
3. Matt Toeaina, DT: Inactive for each of the last three games, after coming into the season as the co-starter opposite Paea. Since bringing aboard veteran Amobi Okoye, it appears Toeaina has become expendable. It’s unknown what the club’s plans are for Toeaina in the coming weeks. But at this point he’s becoming the 2012 version of Anthony Adams. Given the competition for spots on the active roster, Toeaina needs to show more at practice.