We're live at Halas Hall where the Bears are about to begin practice. Let's get after it.
Why do I have a bad feeling Buffalo is going to get their first win Sunday in Toronto?
Corey -- I was certainly hoping the Bills were going to be beat KC yesterday. You can just tell Buffalo is getting closer to that first win. I still believe the Bears are going to defeat the Bills, but would it really shock anybody if it goes the other way?
If the Bears lose to the Bills & miss the playoffs, will that be the proverbial nail in the coffin for Lovie Smith?
I believe so, yes. I don't see any way you can retain a head coach in the NFL who misses the playoffs for four consecutive years.
Will we run the ball more effectively? If Chris Williams moves back to LT or is he better at LG but when Garza comes back where does he go?
Peter -- I think the Bears are better off with Chris Williams out of the lineup, period. Frank Omiyale has done a pretty good job at left tackle the last few weeks, and while J'Marcus Webb is raw, the coaching staff is high on him. I'd rather put Garza and RG and Edwin Williams or Lance Louis at LG, but sending Chris Williams to the bench would be a crushing blow to this organization. Williams isn't a guard, and the Washington game proved it.
An article written by the Chicago Tribune's Dan Pompei expressed optimism that brighter times will come for the Bears after the bye week. Do you agree?
I think Dan hit on several key points in that article. I agree that the defense and special teams have given the Bears a chance to win every game, and should only get better with the return of Major Wright and Zack Bowman. However, if the offense continues to scuffle, I firmly believe key defenders will begin to break down and suffer season ending injuries. I don't quite share the same optimism with Dan when it comes to the offense, Cutler, Martz and the offensive line. Yes, the O Line did a better job versus Washington in the second half, but how can we simply believe all the problems will be fixed in the second half? But, I do think before it's all said and done, the offensive line will be the least of the Bears problems. I have little to zero faith in Cutler and Martz, and unless those two find a way to turn this thing around, the Bears are in serious trouble.
Is there too many ex-head coaches on Bears coaching staff? Are Martz and Tice butting heads?
I'm not sure if you could find two coaches with more polar opposite views on offense then Martz and Tice. Martz is all about the pass. Tice is all about balance. Martz wants his offensive linemen to catch. Tice teaches them to fire out. You tell me if the two are butting heads? The Bears have lost three of their last four and the offense stinks. What do you think?
Guys I feel the Bears are in a coaching "damned if you do, damned if you don't." If the Bears reach the post season its likely Lovie will keep his job and we'll see more mediocrity and stubbornness next season and beyond. However, if the Bears tank in the second half and Lovie is fired, its likely Martz leaves with him and Jay Cutler has to learn a knew system.....again. I can't imagine that would be good for Jay. What do you think is the best long term coaching scenario for Jay Cutler in order to maximize his potential?
The only way Cutler may ever maximize his potential is to send him to Washington this offseason and perhaps the Bears can recoup one of those first round picks. Just my opinion, Dan.
When Major Wright returns, does he start or come off the bench?
I don't think Wright starts, Nathan. But I wouldn't be surprised to see him jump right back into the safety rotation and play a few series Sunday in Toronto.
Am I the best safety to ever play for Chicago?
What about Gary Fencik or Doug Plank?
Do you think Ron Rivera could make a good HC? hes an amazing coordinator.
I think Rivera would make an excellent head coach, but San Diego better win a few more games to ensure Rivera gets interviews in the offseason. Tough to hire a new head coach off a losing team.
How has Henry Melton perfomed according to you? I think he could be wonderful in our scheme?
Henry Melton has been pretty good. Way better than I ever expected. I'm not sure if he'll ever be "wonderful", but he's been getting decent pressure on QBs this year.
The Chicago offensive line is bad. But it really seems like Jay Cutler's attitude worse. It's hard to argue that he's a ME guy and not a team guy. Would love to hear your thoughts on how that has affected this team. He wears the C. He's supposed to be a leader. But he's not.
Cutler is not a leader. Never will be. But.....he's got a great arm and tremendous talent. He's shown the ability to have big games. The Bears need him to play at an elite level the remainder of the season. Can he do it? Maybe. Can he fail in spectacular fashion? Absolutely. We'll just see what happens.
Jeff, I know things look bad based on the way the bears have played lately, but quite frankly I'm not completely panicking yet. look at our next three games: at buffalo (they haven't won) vs. Vikings (they have been disappointing) and at miami (they haven't won a single game at home yet). Your thoughts?
Garrick, the Bears could easily win the next three or just as easily lose the next three. There is zero consistency with this team, or in the NFL.
Why did the Bears release Alex Brown in the offseason and not Tommie Harris. Harris' contract is massively larger and has made a minimal impact this season, while I keep seeing Alex Brown doing the Gator chomp for the Saints.
Getting rid of Alex Brown was a huge mistake. Idonije is doing a nice job on the opposite side of Peppers, but adding Brown into the rotation would've been a nice bonus of the defense. It's not like Tommie Harris has been awful the last few weeks, but he's not making any impact plays, which is what he's paid to do. I really don't see any way Harris is with the Bears in 2011.
Has there been any indication that Dez Clark or Aromashodu will receive more playing time?
Not really. Aromashodu has been on the field more, just not catching any passes. The Dez Clark situation is baffling. Makes no sense. Not sure - barring injury - if that will change this season.
What are the vibes from Halas Hall in terms of contract renewals for Angelo and Smith? In this crazy NFL, the Bears may actually end up winning the division but clearly the organization is not going in the right direction. More than Lovie Smith's stubbornness in his coaching, Jerry Angelo's decisions are just ruining the potential of the Bears :(
That topic is not being discussed.
Watching the Packers beat the Jets, can you see the Bears doing the same thing and win against the Jets?
Maybe. The Bears do get the Jets at home. It could happen. By the way Kevin, I stayed at the Oconomowoc Holiday Inn a few years back, very interesting.
will the run game get goin this week possibly
It better. The Bills are one of the worst teams in the league defending the run. Can you imagine the uproar if the Bears don't run and lose to Buffalo. Especially after all the talk by Lovie and Martz last week about running more and using Taylor and Forte in the backfield at the same time.
do you believe that matt forte is a franchise back or do the bears need to start looking else where
I believe the Bears are fine at RB with the tandom of Forte and Taylor. They just have to use them!!!
Cutler looks extremely uncomfortable in Martz's 7 step drop. Any chance Martz gives up on that and returns to the 5 step drop? Or does it even really matter?
Cutler needs to get rid of the ball quickly. I don't envision a scenario where Cutler is back to using five to three step drops. It would a smart way to eliminate some of those mistakes.
If the Bears fail this year and the organization cleans house this offseason, do you think there is a chance that Cutler will be shipped out as well?
Is this Lovie's last year with the Bears matter what, it seems like even if they make it deep into the playoffs, he doesn't win the super bowl he is gone. What do you think?
I think Lovie keeps his job if the Bears make the playoffs.
Will I ever see the field? How many interceptions and dumb post game remarks does a guy have to make before he is benched?
You're time will come Caleb. But it's going to be tough for you to see the field much this season.
What's worse- Cutler's decision making or his non-chalant attitude?
Decision making. I can live with the attitude if the Bears win. When they lose, he becomes even more unbearable.
Always a pleasure. I'm going to hand it off to Jurko. Talk to everybody next Monday after the Bills game.
Jurko- seems like you're the only one of your colleagues that still has Cutler's back. Do you agree that Cutler will still turn into an elite QB? He just needs the pieces around him to click.
He has the skill set. Orton has been putting up numbers every week and yet if you watch the game the announcers were talking about how he was serviceable. when it came to crunch time he threw the key INT to lose the game. You have to judge QBs on their skill set: arm strength, mobility, intelligence, intangibles. In the first three, Cutler is exceptional. In the intangibles he gets lost. Intangibles: attitude and that ever present body language. But I think he is the QB of the future for the Bears.
jurko, whats the chance we can land cowher next year?
I really think he wants to go to Carolina. Plus the McCaskeys don't really want a guy like Cowher. They want an unknown coordinator that they can control on the cheap.
Jurko- We have Chicago reporters already saying we should trade Cutler this offseason and pushing for Hanie to take the reins. If you ask me Cutler is the least of the Bears problems. Isn't this a little short sighted and naive first in trading Cutler and second in believing Hanie could do better?
Most of the reporters don't know much about football. They are like parrots: they repeat what they are told. Nobody can play behind this offensivel ine. You cannot judge wide receivers, RBs, and QBs behind this offensive line. Angelo stated it was a concern before this preseason and the nightmare has come true.
I may be in the minority, but I think Lovie Smith is a good coach. His players play hard for him and his defenses, when healthy, have been awesome. The only potential issue I have with him is early round draft decisions. Do you think he should be held just as responsible as Angelo for poor drafting?
With these players Lovie is a good coach. He's finding a way to win with substandard talent. And I take with a grain of salt what former players have to say about him like Muhsin Muhammad and Alex Brown.
Outside of the offensive line, where do you think the Bears should focus on in next years' draft?
Both sides of the line, corner and wide receiver.
Jurko, the Bears ran the ball well against the Panthers and then the next week they more or less abandoned the run.. if the bears ran the ball more following that game would they be in better shape right now or was that running success just a fluke against a bad team?
Running for the sake of running? Nobody likes balance better than I do. There is nothing more powerful than watching an OL instill its will upon the defense. Unfortunately, we have the worst offensive line in the league and Carolina misplaying runs was more responsible for the running game that day than what the offensive line did. Smoke and mirrors with the run game is what the Bears need to do, and where is the flip 90 play? We saw it once for a TD and they must have thrown away the play.
Jurko, did you ever use Dom Irrera's celebration advice?
Dom is a funny man. I saw him at Zanie's about 5 years ago. I've never used his advice but I think he's used mine.
I think we will give the Bills their only win. And what are your thoughts about Shanahan pulling McNabb for Lovie's quarterback because Rex > McNabb regarding running the 2 minute drill. I know I got a great laugh off of that one. Let's talk about it.
Shanahan wanted to make a statement to McNabb about his choices during the game. Mike is one of those guys where his offense is predicated on three reads: one, two, three. Mike knows where that ball should go. And when it doesn't go there, he gets frustrated with the QB. He didn't go to Rex because he thought Rex was better, he went becuase he thought he would play the offense. And McNabb can pout all he wants, but the odds are Shanahan will be there and McNabb will not.
Jurko-It seems a little quick to start looking towards next season in my opinion as a lot of people already are. The Bears last two losses were both lost by a 3 point margin..and that without an offense. Can you agree that the Bears a still a potential threat in the NFC with the 2006 formula of ST and Defense leading the way?
Their offense does have to become more efficient. The OL looked like they started to get things together. Along with the backs, they were communicating and picking up stunts better than they had been in the past.
It seems to me that a key factor has not yet been discussed. The terrible line is obvious, the lack of a running game, the bad blocking by TE's as well and of course the play of the QB. But no one has discussed the fact the the WR's don't get open consistantly enough, is Jay holds the ball too long isn't that often more the WR's fault.
True. 100 percent correct. Not only do they not get open, there is no trust between the QB and WRs. The only WR he trusts us Aromashodu, and the coaches don't trust him to be on the field. It's a crazy Catch-22. All of it is highlighted by the fact the OL can't block.
Jurko....Whats your thoughts on rookie DE Corey Wooten? He had a pretty good preseason from what the coaches said. Havent seen him in much this year. Thoughts?
He'll be better in his third year than his first. I think the game is really fast for him right now and he doesn't quite have it. Not to say he won't someday.
Why have the Bears not been able to obtain a top-notch Off or D Coordinator? Martz was a consolation prize and Marinelli was not a top choice either. Is it the perceived job insecurity of Lovie? Or is it something else?
I think the job insecurity was mostly it. That and the fact that Angelo didn't really want Martz. Defensively, Lovie is still the coordinator which is what Lovie wanted.
Jurko....Seems to me Tommy Harris may be playing his last season in Chicago unless he A. Gets at least close to the form he had his first 2 years ..or B. Takes a smaller contract to resign with the Bears after the season. Lovie Smith has over and over stated they are waiting to see the old Tommy Harris.
The only way he stays is with a smaller contract. The only way he continues in the league is fi he plays for less money. He's only 27 but that's the harsh reality of the business. And the more he plays the worse his legs will get.
When does Earl Bennett get into the mix more? It seems like Knox and Hester can't get off the line when jammed...but Bennett is a bit bigger and stronger and has some trust with Cutler.
Earl is in the mix. You have to get open to get the football.
Hasn't Marinelli really done a pretty good job, all things considered? Last year that D was a mess. This year they have a structure and an identity--and have played well, too boot.
Urlacher is healthy. And you've got Peppers. That's a pretty good combination of guys, don't you think?
Urlacher is healthy. And you've got Peppers. That's a pretty good combination of guys, don't you think?
Regarding your last comment about the McCaskeys not wanting a credible former Head Coach... does that mean that Gruden is out of the question?
It might be but it doesn't mean he's not my guy still.
Jurko, do you see Mike Martz staying on as offensive coordinator if Lovie gets the boot? I think part of the problem with Cutler is the fact that he's had to learn a new system every season for the past four seasons, and some continuity could really help him.
No, if they don't turn it around I see this as Martz's last season. there's still time to turn this around. It's all based on OL play. I don't think this team goes 10-6 but I saw crazy things on Sunday. That's what makes this league so great.
Jurko- Is Devin Hester having a bad year at wide reciever because he is not getting open enough or is it something else?
He's bad. The guy has got no instincts for the position. Olsen is having a bad year because the whole world told you he was going to. Anybody who knows Martz's system knew Olsen would have a bad year.
The Bears should beat Buffalo. They will be tough but the Bears' offense is better than the Bills defense, and the Bears defense is better than the offense. Should be a win. See ya Thursday.