I can live with this collection of skill players. The safety position has been remarkably solid. The corners, especially Peanut Tillman, have played well. The linebackers are brilliant. Julius Peppers is just about the best defensive player in the game right now. So why aren't the people covering and cheering on the Chicago Bears going through the roof about their 4-1 start to the season? Why aren't fans cheering on two division and four conference victories in the first five games? Why aren't we all reveling about the prospect of a 7-1 start to the year? What does Mike Florio mean when he says, "Reality will eventually catch up with this team."
There's a lot to commend Lovie Smith for through five weeks. His coaching hires have been excellent. His new perform-or-cut approach is leading to inspired game day performances. But the repeated goes on fourth-and-one at the goal line and a stubborn refusal to remove Todd Collins from Sunday's game are the kinds of decisions that keep a team from winning championships. I have never believed Lovie Smith is a Super Bowl winning coach. But he's showing signs that he may become one.
Jay Cutler, Mike Martz
The development of the Cutler/Martz relationship may be dependent upon the ability of the offensive line to block but it also has to have been damaged by Martz' sacrificial lamb act in the Meadowlands. Offensive coordinators don't apologize the way Martz did a week ago. He seemed disappointed in himself. And I liked seeing it.
I also may be over-psychoanalyzing this situation but I believe Martz needs to re-earn Cutler's confidence. Short routes. Roll-outs. Bootlegs. Perhaps relying on this newfangled run game. Cutler needs to go a game or two without hitting the ground with his brain. There's no other choice. And it's up Martz to make it happen.
The Bears are 4-1. The playoffs are in view. Winning in the playoffs is possible. They have twelve weeks to be better.