We'll be doing a lot of housekeeping around here Wednesday - Friday, including another round of tee shirt sales and the picks contest standings.
Also we'll be doing our first ever DA BEARS BLOG MAILBAG on Monday, October 15th. Many of you out there don't spend much time in the Comments arena and I thought it'd be nice to give you a chance to make your presence known on the site. Send a question or comment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
First, five questions arising from these terrific first five games of the 2012 season.
Can Brandon Marshall insert himself into the MVP discussion if the Bears defense continues to dominate?
Doubtful but Marshall is on pace to shatter everything done by wide receivers in Chicago. He's staring down 100 catches, double-digit touchdowns and nearly 1500 yards. He has changed the complexion of the Bears offense by drawing the attention of opposing defensive coordinators and giving Jay Cutler a reliable target on third and fourth down short-yardage situations. Jay Cutler and Matt Forte are very good football players. I'm getting the sense Brandon Marshall is a great one.
Take a look at how Marshall is stacking up in Bears WR history by CLICKING HERE.
Both Major Wright and Chris Conte have struggled at times on pass plays over the top. Will this possible deficiency hurt the Bears anytime soon?
It very well could but we won't have to wait long to know. The Detroit Lions want their quarterback to drop back into the pocket and unleash the ball deep and they've got the wide receiver (Calvin Johnson) to do it. If the Bears don't get pressure on Stafford a week from Monday night, Conte and Wright will be seeing a heavy workload. Let's see how they produce.
Can Jay Cutler win a close one?
Maybe he won't face the situation but the Bears have yet to need their franchise quarterback to take the ball eighty yards, down four, three minutes to go. You can't fault the Bears defense for playing the way they're playing but the Bears will not win a Super Bowl without Cutler making a big play at a clutch moment. With his offensive line performing far better than even a few weeks ago, Cutler won't have any excuse for not succeeding in the big moment.
Will Devin Hester continue to look normal in the return game?
Thus far the greatest kick returner in the history of football has looked average. But one thing we know for sure is the Detroit Lions are somewhat-defined by their complete inability to make a tackle on special teams. If Hester continues to look human against the Lions at Soldier Field, we may be looking at the Bears no longer entering each game with the overwhelming special teams advantage they've maintained for seven years.
Will we see Brian Urlacher in 2012?
I believe it is the definitive question facing the Chicago Bears moving forward. Can the Bears defense continue to succeed with Urlacher playing at this 40-60% level? Yes. They are simply playing at outrageously high levels everywhere else on the defense. But teams will look at the Cowboys and Jaguars tapes and see two definitive lessons: (1) Urlacher is struggling to protect the middle of the field from tight ends and backs. (2) Urlacher is struggling to make it to the edge. Until he proves he can do both routinely, I expect teams to attack him directly. If Urlacher is able to get to 75-80%, this defense will not have competition for the status of league's best.
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