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October 17, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Jeff Dickerson, Michael Wright

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:01 PM)

Let's roll.

Chris (Houston, MN)

When can we expect Bennett back in the lineup? I like Sanz, but Bennett is an upgrade at the WR position.

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:03 PM)

Worst case scenario for Bennett is following the bye vs. Eagles on MNF. However, he might get cleared to play this week against Bucs. It just depends how the medical staff feels. Bennett is ready, just needs to get the green light to resume contact drills.

Tim (Lawrenceville, GA)

Earl Bennett has been out along time. What kind of "chest injury" did he have? The fact the same description is given to Devin Hester's injury is concerning. Any details as to the extent of Hester's injury?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:04 PM)

Hester's injury is not as severe as Bennett's. I don't believe Hester suffered any broken ribs, so it will come down to his ability to manage pain this week. Bennett's situation is entirely different. Bennett has a torso injury, not a chest injury.

Mike (Chicago)

How does O-Line look once Carimi returns?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:05 PM)

I would imagine Carimi at RT and Lance Louis moves back inside to RG.

Brad (Champaign, IL)

With Martz's contract up at the end of the year and it seems probable that he won't return, is that a good or bad thing for Jay Cutler? He would have yet another different offensive coordinator. Consistency at O-Coord. or a guy who can call players better fitting to his abilities?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:06 PM)

It would be nice, if Martz leaves at the end of he year, for the Bears to find a coordinator that would call plays to Cutler's strengths. Does that person exist? Would he come to Chicago? And are the Bears capable of finding him? All good questions.

Chris (Kansas City)

I confess I didn't watch him as close as I wanted, but it seems like Paea looked pretty good. Does this mean he's healthy enough to become the starter consistently now?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:08 PM)

Paea earned the right to be active and play again this week in London. Truth be told, he didn't look good in training camp or in practice. He only dressed because Matt Toeaina was out with a knee sprain. However, Paea made a few plays, good for him. Lovie Smith called it "a good first step". I agree with the head coach.

BZ (Brookfield, Illinois)

Chris Harris for Brandon Lloyd?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:09 PM)

B. Lloyd was dealt to the Rams today.

jack (ct)

what do you think chris harris' trade value is?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:10 PM)

7th round pick.

Vance (Roselle)

How sure are you that Mike Martz won't go off the reservation and start calling plays with much less protection again?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:11 PM)

That is always a possibility. I don't trust Martz at all. He could try and throw the ball 50 times vs. the Bucs for all we know.

Frank (Naperville)

David Haugh wrote about the Bears needing to find an Epstein-like GM once Angelo retires, which seems inevitable. Who would you suggest? And is there any chance Ruskell gets the job? Also: Wouldn't it seem that a new GM would mean it's over for Lovie?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:13 PM)

I believe the worst thing the Bears could ever do would be to hand the title over to Ruskell if Jerry steps aside. If you think Jerry struggles with the draft, check out Ruskell's record in Seattle. Lovie is under contract through 2013, that will trump any new GM. But Lovie and Ruskell were also together in Tampa, so if Ruskell grabs the job, Smith is especially safe.

Joe B (Oxford, CT)

Who gets benches when Gabe Carimi returns?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:14 PM)

Chris Spencer is the likely candidate.

Mark (Pasadena, CA)

Who presents Devin Hester in Canton? Prime Time? Dave Toub? Or someone else?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:14 PM)

If it happens, I'm sure Prime Time. That's his guy.

Greg (Atlanta)

With Conte and Harris playing a solid game last night, could this be the end of Merriweather?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:17 PM)

I'd be stunned if the Bears offer Meriweather a contract beyond 2011. But he's worth keeping around until the end of the season.

Tom D. (San Diego)

Hey JD/Mike -- always appreciate the chats. Just wanted to get your thoughts on Cutler saying, "tell him I said **** you!" at the :43 second mark in the 2nd quarter. I mean, it seems he would be saying that towards whoever was play calling, but I'm not sure...any idea?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:18 PM)

I think you're on the right path Tom. Pretty obvious who Cutler was talking about.

Ramon (Berwyn)

I think the Bears have a shot at the next 4 games Do you think we can win. Keep in mind Lions coming to Solider Field this time around

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:20 PM)

It won't be easy. The Bucs are 4-2. Philadelphia is having a bad year but they are still talented and will be at home. Detroit already beat the Bears once, and San Diego is one of the better teams in the AFC. So tough to say.

Nandi (FL)

What did you think of the two safeties play last night?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:21 PM)

Just okay. Let's see what happens when they face a good quarterback. Josh Freeman is a big step up in class this weekend.

Todd (Washington DC)

Why was Julius Peppers playing in the 4th quarter when the game was out of reach? Seems risky considering he was coming off an injury.

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:22 PM)

Lovie must've thought he was back coaching the college game. Probably trying to rack up those BCS points. Seriously, no reason for Cutler, Peppers, Urlacher or Forte to be on the field so late in a blowout. Not smart.

Amazed (Chicago)

I know it?s been rehashed hundreds of times, but is there anything in football more exciting than watching Hester field a kickoff or punt? Say what you want about is receiving abilities, the guy just flat out changes games. It?s starting to get silly?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:23 PM)

It's amazing. Why did Minnesota kick to him??!!! Just for the record; Hester has four kick return touchdowns vs. Vikings.

Pavan (Miami)

Should the Bears just cut Frank Omilaye? There has to be another O-lineman out there then can provide better depth then Omilaye.

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:24 PM)

If they can find a better back up, yes. Look for Bears to workout offensive linemen during the bye week. Maybe something happens then.

Jeremy B (Mish)

Whats going on with Chris Harris? Hes the best safety we have. Are the Bears really going to move on?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:26 PM)

Lovie is done with Chris Harris. He has his reasons. I still think he should be on the roster. Let's see if the Bears find a trade partner.

Chris (Chi-town)

Why didn't the Bears make a move for Brandon Lloyd? Or did they and were just unsuccessful?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:27 PM)

B. Lloyd took forever to come back from a knee sprain in 2008. That raised a lot of eyebrowns around here. He did not leave a good impression on the organization.

Tommy (Austin,TX)

What is the timetable with Carimi"s injury?

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:28 PM)

B. Lloyd took forever to come back from a knee sprain in 2008. That raised a lot of eyebrowns around here. He did not leave a good impression on the organization.

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:28 PM)

He's probably back after the bye.

dan (texas)

What was Jay referring to when he said to the side line, tell mike martz to (blank) off

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:30 PM)

I don't believed he liked the sequence of play calls on that particular drive.

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:31 PM)

Thank you guys. Mike Wright is ready to keep going from 1:30-2. Talk to you soon.

  (2:32 PM)

I'm here. Let's roll folks.

Chris (Loop)

Why did Martz wait to adjust his plays/play calling until now. A lot of 2 WR sets yesterday. I feel like we went through the same thing early on last year. It really feels like Deja Vu

  (2:33 PM)

Chris, I definitely get what you're saying. But my thought is what difference does it make now that all is right with the world. Maybe I'm just happy that it's a victory Monday. You're right that it does feel pretty familiar. Remember, this team was 4-3 after 7 games last year, too. Maybe they can repeat that feat.

Melvin (North Carolina)

I know he's getting a lot of penalties, but how do Bears coaches feel about J'marcus Webb. Seems like he's getting better and better on left side.

  (2:35 PM)

Melvin, J'Marcus Webb played his butt off yesterday. He actually played like the guy that offensive line coach Mike Tice has raved about. If you notice, he didn't need a ton of help on Jared Allen. The problem with Webb is that for one game he plays like last night, then he actually looks like a seventh-round pick. So consistency is the key with Webb. We need to see mor of it.

Randy (Ft. Hood, Texas)

Mike, good afternoon! It seems to me that Chris Williams has been the best offensive lineman this year. Is this true?

  (2:36 PM)

In terms of consistency, I'd agree with you. But I'd also put in a strong bid for Chris Spencer. He's played well when called upon.

AZ (Chicago)

Hey Michael, it's my birthday today and the Bears got a nice W for me last night! Despite that, they are still a borderline playoff team that needs consistency from the o-line to beat the better teams. You think they can do it? Also, thoughts on Lance Louis?

  (2:38 PM)

Most importantly AZ, happy birthday. As for your question, the Bears were in a very similar situation last year at this point and they made the requisite changes (although that offensive line came back to haunt them at the end). So I definitely think -- especially when they get Gabe Carimi back -- they can turn the corner with that offensive line. As for Louis, I thought he played well at tackle. I paid a lot of attention to him throughout the game, and thought Louis flashed decent athleticism for a supposedly non-athletic guy.

Mike (FL)

Doesn't there have to be more to this Chris Harris thing than just a few blown coverages or a bad game? Seems like a rather dramatic fall. Maybe all his Tweets, or something else behind the scenes?

  (2:40 PM)

Mike, from what I've gathered in my short time here, it seems that once you get into Lovie Smith's doghouse, it's hard to climb out. That could be the case here. But at the same time, it seemed to me that Lovie gave Chris somewhat of a vote of confidence today in his presser. I promise you that Lovie could care less about tweets and things like that. He doesn't pay any attention. I actually could see Chris Harris finding a way back into the starting lineup before it's all over.

Todd (Cleveland)

Why is Lovie Smith "done" with Chris Harris? It had to be more than just the Lions game, right? I don't remember thinking he played bad against Atlanta, but maybe he did?

  (2:41 PM)

Todd, they all played badly against Atlanta. Victory has a way of covering up the facts sometimes.

Sean (Atlanta)

Michael, Nick Roach stinks!! When are they going to notice they will need another linebacker before it gets too late? What ever happened with the Pisa visit?

  (2:42 PM)

Sean, I disagree with you on Nick Roach. He's just playing alongside two perennial Pro Bowlers in Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. As for Pisa Tinoisamoa, well, the Bears put him through a really tough workout and his knee didn't hold up as well as he'd hoped.

Nandi (FL)

Chris Conte played decent last night. Do you think he is capable of playing that way against teams with better WR's?

  (2:43 PM)

Nandi, I thought Conte played OK, too. And yes, I think he can handle better wide receivers. Remember that he played corner most of his college career. So in terms of pass coverage, that corner experience will definitely transition over well to the pro game.

Mike (NY)

Hey Mike, If you were Jerry (which i wish you were) would you draft a tackle or a weapon like Michael Floyd?

  (2:44 PM)

Mike, gimme the tackle. I'm one of those guys who believes in drafting the big boys first. I think your percentage of hitting is much better.

Kevin (PA)

In regards to Lovie's presser today, didn't he have "Loving" words to say about Chester Taylor prior to his release as well ??

  (2:45 PM)

Oops, good point Kevin.

Frank Omiyale (Sideline, Illinois)

Hey Mike! Y do I suck so bad and y do I look so silly when I make bad plays?

  (2:46 PM)

Frankie, didn't even play last night.

James L (Chicago's South Side)

Mike thanks for covering the bears like a blanket and Happy Victory Monday! Happy about the win yesterday but it seems like there is an issue between Jay Cutler and Mad Martz, but wouldn't having Jay Cutler learn a completely new system again be more to his detriment (and that of the team) if the team elected for a new OC next season.

  (2:47 PM)

Thanks, James. It's funny you should ask that question because the ESPN team was actually discussing that today at Halas Hall. I definitely think it would be a huge hindrance in Cutler's development to have to learn a new offensive system. But he's also not developing if he's taking all the punishment that comes with playing in a Mike Martz system. So I see this as somewhat of a Catch 22 for the team. It will be interesting to see how the team proceeds moving forward. Remember, Martz is in the last year of his contract. A big part of me doesn't see the Bears trying to bring him back.

Lucas (Moscow, Idaho)

Whats the chances that Angelo wises up and pays Forte what he deserves any time soon?

  (2:49 PM)

Lucas, I don't think it's gonna happen. I think Forte plays out the season, then plays under the franchise tag in 2012. I think they'll try to revisit the negotiations this offseason, but as you know that franchise tag is the team's trump card. This is gonna be a tough negotiation and both sides will have to give a little. As long as Forte continues to play the way he has, the Bears will be the ones giving.

Melvin (North Carolina)

Mike: Why not just promote Mike Tice to OC in order to maintain continuity. I heard that he's also fluent in the Don Coryell system. Wouldn't that be a better fix than starting all over?

  (2:52 PM)

*Samuel Jackson voice* "Look at the big brain on Melvin." Actually, when Tice first came here the team didn't give him an official title initially. That was because he was under consideration for the offensive coordinator's job. I hear that Jerry Angelo actually suggested to Lovie Smith that Tice be the coordinator. Obviously, Smith preferred Martz, which is why we're where we are now. I believe that Tice would do a good job as a coordinator. I saw some of the things he was able to do with Jacksonville's running game back when I was out there. And obviously, Tennessee thought enough of Tice to request an interview with him last offseason for a coordinator's job.

JoeC (Illinois)

Hey Mike good chat as always. My question to you is, were has Hank Melton been the past couple games? Paea held his own last night, and Peppers played great with the knee issue, but I feel like I never heard no. 69 called.

  (2:55 PM)

JoeC, that's kind of just how it goes sometimes. You're correct we didn't see a lot from Melton on Sunday night. In fact, the only stat Melton registered was a quarterback hit. Like we've said about so many other guys, we need to see consistency from Melton. But let's not lose sight of the fact he's in his first year playing such a significant role. Hopefully, Melton gets going son.

Ryan Higgins (orange county)

Maybe I am just a superfan, but I really feel the Bears are 2 offensive lineman away from being a true contender. Is there anyone out there that could help?

  (2:57 PM)

If offensive linemen were out there, believe me, the Bears would be all over them. The team does plan to bring in some offensive linemen during the bye week for workouts. But I don't think you should expect any miracles. There just aren't a bunch of great unemployed offensive linemen out there. Shoot, you'd be lucky to get slightly below average on the current market.

gibby (springfield, mo)

speaking of Melton, what about Wootton? Has he fully recovered?

  (2:58 PM)

From the knee or the hand? Seriously, his knee is better. But Wootton suffered another major setback when he injured his hand. We'll begin to start seeing him in games before long. But it all comes down to how he recovers from this latest injury. As of right now, it's still an issue.

lucas (des moines)

thoughts on Lebron in the NFL??

  (2:59 PM)

He'd more of an "icon" than Cam Newton for sure. Plus, when Nike puts out those Lebron cleats, I'm sure tons of people will buy them.

Gary (Antioch)

What happened to Bowman? One year he starts and was good, now he can't even get on the field?

  (3:00 PM)

Lovie told me in the offseason that he'd give Bowman a chance to win his job back. Truth be told, the team is still very high on him. But Bowman simply hasn't been able to beat out Tim Jennings for the gig.

  (3:00 PM)

Folks, that's my time. As always, was a pleasure chatting with you guys and look forward to chatting again. Later.