Chat with Jeff Dickerson
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday ESPNChicago.com reporter Jeff Dickerson stops by to chat about the Chicago Bears.
Dickerson is a Bears beat reporter and weeknight host on ESPN 1000.
Send your questions now and join Dickerson Mondya at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT!
Jeff Dickerson (1:59 PM)
Greetings from sunny Dallas. Should be fun tonight. Big game for the Bears with Detroit losing yesterday and GB pulling out a late win vs. New Orleans. Let's get it started.
Sam (Northern Suburbs)
I am nervous about tonight and the reason I am nervous is because of Jay Cutler. I don't need elite, is Jay Cutler going to finally become consistent?
Jeff Dickerson (2:01 PM)
Understood. Cutler is always an unknown going into games like these. But, he's played two subpar games in a row and he might be ready to snap out of it. If the Bears can get the ground game going early, I think Cutler will be fine. However, if they can't run and are forced to rely too much on the pass, Cutler and the Bears might be in trouble. Cutler must be feeling a ton of pressure going into this game. Guess that's why he's paid the big bucks.
Derek (Dublin Ireland)
What is Earl Bennett injury status?
Jeff Dickerson (2:03 PM)
Bennett's been dealing with a left hand injury now for a couple of weeks. He's been wearing a brace on the hand when he's walking around the facility, but he has been able to play in the last two games, although his numbers are down. The Bears could always decide to rest Earl tonight and activate Dane Sanzenbacher. But that would be an organizational decision, not Bennett's call. I think he would like to play if possible.
David (Washington, DC)
Some say switch Carimi to LT would be bad since he's played all of his professional reps at RT. But at this point, why not switch him to at least bolster the passing attack? It seems our RB's our talented enough to produce even with a weakened run blocking scheme.
Jeff Dickerson (2:06 PM)
The are a couple of issues here David; (1) Carimi is considered a much better run blocker than pass protector, probably why Mike Tice has been convinced he's a better fit at RT; and (2) Carimi hasn't really been playing all that well. I like Carimi, and I still believe he's going to be a good player in this league, but facts are facts, and he's struggling. This doesn't seem like the best time to move him, in my opinion.
Madhu (South Windsor, CT)
Please tell me the Bears are going to help Webb with Ware. If they don't I get the felling we're going to see an appearance of "Screw It" Jay...
Jeff Dickerson (2:09 PM)
The Bears can help Webb, first and foremost, by running the football. That's the best way to counter an elite pass rusher like DeMarcus Ware. But yes, I assume they will help on Ware on the bulk of their passing plays. They have to. Otherwise, it could get ugly.
JD, Is it just me or did the Bears have better success with Chris Williams at LG and Webb at LT then what they have now? Seems like Webb's mistakes are lessen to a certain degree...
Jeff Dickerson (2:13 PM)
That's a great question, Bob. I really didn't think Chris Williams played poorly at left guard, so it surprises me that he finds himself totally out of the mix. Not sure how much he helped Webb, per day, but an argument could be made that Williams is a better LG than Chilo Rachal. With Webb it's all about technique. His technique betrays him in certain situations and results in Cutler getting drilled. That cannot continue to happen on such a consistent basis.
Randy (Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan(ARMY))
JD, thanks for keeping us Bears fans in the loop while we are out here! Anyways, do you have a hunch about Forte? and if he is out will Bell get the same action as last week you think? or is Bush full strength? Thanks!
Jeff Dickerson (2:16 PM)
Stay safe, Randy. I expect Forte to play tonight unless he twists his ankle stepping off the team bus. Bush probably isn't 100% but tons of guys play through a certain degree of pain and discomfort. Bush is no different. As for Bell, he might be involved depending on how Forte holds up during the game.
Chris (Glen Ellyn, IL)
Do you think we'll see some of the 3-step drops we were promised during the offseason? It's frustrating to see every pass attempt 15+ yards down the field.
Jeff Dickerson (2:18 PM)
The Bears need to get rid of the ball quicker, no doubt about it Chris. I'm not sure why the routes have been so long, but the middle of the field has looked wide open the last two games. I would expect the Bears to work some shorter underneath routes tonight, but the Cowboys are banged up at safety, so a couple of shots down the field might in the cards.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Mike Tice has come under fire in recent weeks. How justified is the criticism in your opinion?
Jeff Dickerson (2:20 PM)
Derrin, when the offense struggles the coordinator is going to get some blame. I think Tice would agree that he didn't call a very good game in Green Bay and was only slightly better vs. the Rams. The good news is the season is still young, so there is time to get it turned around. But this is a big game. The last thing the Bears want is to look bad on MNF then played another road game six days later in Jax. Cutler and Tice are both under the gun.
Is 54 a first ballad HOF'er?
Jeff Dickerson (2:21 PM)
If I had a vote (which I do not) Brian Urlacher is a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Bobby (Lake Forest, IL)
Why am I already in a panic? We've had slow starts before, but am I right in hoping that this offense can live up to the hype?
Jeff Dickerson (2:24 PM)
Don't panic yet, Bobby. It's not as if the Cowboys are playing all that great themselves. This is a game the Bears can win if the defense plays up to its usual standards and the offense is smart, runs the ball, and doesn't turn it over.
Any chances scott comes in for a struggling webb tonight?
Jeff Dickerson (2:25 PM)
Scott was inactive last week so we'll have to see if he's dressed for tonight's game first.
Do you see Hester getting an increased role offensively tonight? Or will we see him about the same amount as last week?
Jeff Dickerson (2:27 PM)
Depending on Bennett's availability, I could see Hester playing more than the 11 snaps he did vs. St. Louis. But the best contribution Hester can make tonight might be on special teams. Dallas hasn't given up much this year on punt or kickoff return, but Hester has been close a few times so far this season. The Bears need Devin Hester to pull a Devin Hester and have another memorable performance on MNF.
Do you have any stats regarding penalties for the o-lines in this game? I'm expecting a lot.
Jeff Dickerson (2:29 PM)
I can tell you that Dallas LT Tyron Smith leads the NFL with five false start penalities (six overall penalties) and RT Doug Free has been flagged six times for various fouls. On paper, it looks like a battle the Bears DL should win.
Do you think Alshon Jeffery will become more of a force as the season continues?
Jeff Dickerson (2:31 PM)
I do. Jeffery can play. But Darryl Drake was not happy with Jeffery over his drop last week. The rookie is usually sure-handed, so I was surprised to see him drop the football. But overall, he's been as advertised. When's the last time you could say that about a young Bears WR?
What will the bears do in place of fullback Evan Rodriguez?
Jeff Dickerson (2:32 PM)
Kyle Adams can play that hybrid FB/TE role, Brandon. Maybe they also use more 2 TE sets with Matt Spaeth who played 31 snaps in Week 3. On special teams, the Bears plan to replace Rodriguez on punt with Anthony Walters and on kickoff return with Nick Roach.
Jon (North Side)
Cutler gets a lot of criticism. I know hes attitude is sub par, he lacks elite leadership capabilities and he has been known to lay an egg from time to time. But as a die hard fan of 25 years, I have never had a more capable player at the quarterback position to root for. Any chance the bears opt to not extend Cutler?
Jeff Dickerson (2:34 PM)
I guess it's possible. He has one more year left on his deal after 2012. If Phil Emery doesn't think Cutler is the guy long-term then he'll have to move on. But winning cures everything. We have a long way to go before the Bears have to make that decision. But a good question to ask.
JD, Do you see Brandon having 100 yard game tonight? Dallas D has been playing well but they are hurting back at saftey and also will ot have their starting DE opposite Ware
Jeff Dickerson (2:37 PM)
Sure, I could see it. However, Dallas has solid cornerbacks in Brandon Carr and rookie Morris Claiborne, but Marshall is an elite player in this league, so I go into every week thinking he could get 100 yards receiving. Tonight is no different.
Chris Wils (Chicago)
One thing I think the Bears are missing so far this year is special team play. Yes the offense has been spotty at best but throughout this love smith era, we have always prided ourselves on special teams. I think we need a return for a td from hester to get us going. It is such an emotional lift when Hester takes one to the house for this bears team what do you think?
Jeff Dickerson (2:38 PM)
Agreed. The coverage team did a force a TO vs. the Colts in Week 1 and Dallas KR Felix Jones did fumble the opening KO in Week 2 vs. Seattle. That could be something to watch for.
Sup J Dizzil? Do you see the Bears offense hitting ANY strides tonight? Also, is Webb done if he gives us another stinker tonight?
Jeff Dickerson (2:42 PM)
C.W., I do believe that if Webb bombs tonight the Bears will make a change. He's out of strikes, as they like to say. As for the offense in genera: this is a good Cowboys defense (No. 1 overall and No. 2 vs. the pass) but if the Bears are able to run the football, I think they score some points. So to answer your question, I believe the offense can bounce back.
Kirk (Punta Gorda)
I counter with, is Carmini done if he gives us another stinker?
Jeff Dickerson (2:44 PM)
The difference there is that Carimi is a 1st round pick and Webb a 7th round pick. Generally speaking, a guy like Carimi gets about 10 strikes as opposed to 3. Plus, Carimi has played only 4.5 NFL games. He needs more time to prove himself. And I assume he'll get it. Where is Punta Gorda?
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you the Vikings are legitmate and will continue to lead/contend for the divison title for the entire season or eventually come back down the earth finishing toward the bottom of the division?
Jeff Dickerson (2:46 PM)
That's a surprise, isn't it. The NFL always keeps you guessing. My gut tells me the Vikings will eventually fall back down to earth, but how can you not be impressed with their start. They beat SF. That's a major accomplishment.
sam (joliet )
Where would you rank Lovie among coaches as far as being able to make in game adjustments? It seems to me like he refuses to change things on the fly during a game. I see other teams come out with completely different game plans in the second half that work.
Jeff Dickerson (2:49 PM)
Two points about that; (1) Lovie trusts the defense, but will make changes on the fly if necessary. I think he's become a little better at that over the years; but (2) he doesn't call the plays on offense. That's up to the offensive coaches to figure out. You can counter that Lovie should have done a better job over the years hiring offensive coaches, but that's another debate for another day.
If bears lose tonight to you see it as a sign of a failed season?
Jeff Dickerson (2:50 PM)
Not really. They'd still be 2-2. A loss isn't the end of the world, but a win would be huge for this group from a confidence standpoint. That I guarantee.
Can we attribute the bad offensive line the fact Ex GM Angelo didn't draft good offensive line and the team is sort of paying the piper right now.
Jeff Dickerson (2:53 PM)
I think that's a fair question, Larry. The Bears did not address the offensive line via the draft for several years under Angelo (at that time the club had an effective veteran group up front with Tait, Brown, Olin, Garza and Miller) and when he did use a high choice on an OL, it turned out to be Chris Williams, who is now a back up. Not a good reflection on Jerry.
are the cowboys capable of shutting down the bears running attack? thus making the bears 1-dimensional, aka making #1 recievers out of Claiborne and Carr?
Bobby (Lake Forest, IL)
Am I the only one who wants to kick Kevin Seifert in the face?
Jeff Dickerson (2:59 PM)
Let's try this again. Having a wireless issue. The Cowboys have giving up some yards on the ground, probably because NT Jay Ratliff is still out. Bears catch a huge break there. However, Sean Lee is a terrific ILB. Bears will need to account for him.
Jeff Dickerson (3:01 PM)
Thank you everybody. Hotel wireless is slowing me down. Enjoy the game tonight. If you have a computer handy during the game, we'll be chatting on ESPNChicago.com. Good luck!