With the Bears in the middle of their bye week, before a face off with the Eagles on Monday night, November 7th, we take a look at where some Chicago Bears players currently are by using a stock market structure.
Devin Hester Stock: Rising
Hester had a slow start to the season, and I, at times, said that the Bears should consider scaling back Hester’s snaps at wide receiver. However, the past three weeks Hester has looked like the Bears best wide receiver. The route running has looked decisive in and out of his breaks; he has adjusted to the football and has made some pretty decent catches. Fans should expect Hester to bring it up another notch in the second part of the season.
Jay Cutler Stock: Neutral
It was an overall lousy game from Jay Cutler against the Buccaneers last Sunday, after coming off convincing performances against the Lions and Vikings. There were some throws that made you scratch your head, and a few throws that made me say in your mind, “That is vintage Jay right there.” The best throw of the game by Cutler came on a play-action bootleg to Knox, which was reminiscent of his days under Mike Shanahan’s watch. Cutler cannot afford to be carless with the football come November 7th when they go up against a strong Philadelphia Eagles secondary.
Lance Louis Stock: Rising
Louis has filled in nicely at right tackle for the injured Gabe Carimi and ever so bad Frank Omiyale. With Carimi possibly coming back after the bye week, it puts offensive line coach Mike Tice in a bit of a situation at right guard. Chris Spencer has played admirably well at right guard, but Louis, before his injury, also showed promise at the position. I think when the Bears come off the bye week fans will see the same configuration on the offensive line that they saw in week-1.
Mike Martz Stock: Falling
Martz had a good thing going for six quarters (when you combine the two previous games), but the second half play calling in the Bucs game would almost have warranted him losing his job during the bye if the Bears had lost that game. The play calling inside the Bucs 10-yard line late in the game was putrid to say the least, and he put the Bears defense, who had been playing their butts off, in a bad spot. Martz’s play calling will be something to keep a close eye on moving forward.
Kellen Davis Stock: Neutral
Davis has underwhelmed as receiving tight end so far this season, and the only thing keeping his stock from falling is his ability to seal the edge with some excellent run blocks, allowing Forte an opportunity to attack the next level. Maybe it is just me expecting more fromDavisas a receiver because he is 6’-7”, 260+ and runs a 4.6 40. We should see more from him in the passing game and, for some reason, we are not.
Chris Conte Stock: Rising
Chris Conte, for the second week in a row, has quiet his doubters who thought he was not worthy of the third-round pick the Bears used on him. The rookie has shown more discipline than previous starter (and former Pro Bowler) Brandon Meriweather and more playmaking ability than the week-1 starter at free safety Major Wright. The pick on the goal line was one of the more spectacular plays I have seen from a safety in a Bears uniform in the last two years. A play later in the game was just as impressive where he broke up a deep jump ball pass; showing quickness and athleticism to get over that side of the field and make a play on the ball.
Chris Harris Stock: Falling
Harris did not honestly do anything last Sunday to justify getting his starting job back, so I’m expecting Major Wright to be back in the line-up after sitting out against the Bucs with a hip injury. Harris failed to bring in an interception after a good read on where Josh Freeman was going with the ball. Later on in the game, he got schooled on a route combination by Desmond Briscoe. It has been a pretty rough season for Chris Harris who was hoping to get a contract extension at the end of the 2011.
Henry Melton Stock: Falling
I still believe Melton can be a decent starting 3-technique defensive tackle, but he has been close to invisible the last four games. He is even losing snaps to rookie Stephen Paea, who was inactive the first five weeks of the season, on top of already splitting time with Amobi Okoye. If there ever was a game to get Melton back on track, it would be against the Eagles, who host a suspect interior line.
Stephen Paea Stock: Neutral
It was a tale of two games for rookie Stephen Paea. Against the Vikings, Paea was extremely disruptive along the line, both against the pass and the run. Against the Bucs, however, he did not do anything that jumped out at me. More experience should help the young rookie tackle, who is playing both the nose and 3-technique positions in Lovie Smith’s Tampa-2 scheme.
Lance Briggs Stock: Rising
After a bad game against the Lions, Briggs has bounced back with two solid performances against the Vikings and Bucs. Briggs has not blown any assignments, and he continues to prove why he is one of the best—if not the best—tacklers on the team. If he is consistent moving forward, it will be hard not to give him a pay increase at the end of the season.