With nothing to do this week, but to see who is coming to historic Soldier Field to get their sorry hind parts handed to them, now seems like an ideal time to look at the questions that exist with the Bears. I think it is fair to say if the Bears are playing their A game, nobody in the NFC is beating them, the problem of course is can the Bears play their A game for the remainder of the season.
The Bears quarterback play was as uncertain as I will be whether to order the Double Crunch or a bucket of Extra Crispy on the way home tonight. Grossman is and will remain our starter going into the playoffs until he proves he can't handle it. The question that remains is two-fold. First, how short of a leash is on Grossman. Rex had restored some faith and built up a little credit with his 5 TDs and 0 INTs over the three games leading up to the Packers, but let's face it 0 TDs and 3INTs in a half isn't exactly going to make stop Bears Nation from leaving the lights on at night. That said, the second part of the equation is, can backup QB Brian Griese take us to the promised land? His play was better than Grossman, but a 46.9 rating isn't anything to write home about. Maybe with some additional time with the fist team he can come around, but let us hope we get Rex back at his best.
TJ OR CED?
This is a question that is more likely to give you them warm fuzzies. Exactly, how much time should Cedric Benson get in the backfield? Thomas Jones is our starter and is our best all around back, but it cannot be overlooked that going into the playoffs teams look for ball control. Having TJ dance around in the backfield or trying to cut to the outside doesn't do that. Benson runs the ball straight up the gut unless he has no other option. If the 8.4 yards per average he had versus the Pakcers is a sign of things to come, maybe it is time to split the load or see Benson carrying the bulk of it.
There was a time earlier this year, when all our offense needed to do was put 15 on the board and you could count it as a win, but that isn't the case anymore. Many things can be pointed to for the Bears recent troubles. Obviously, with the offense not operating the way it was, the defense finds itself on the field more than it was. The defense has also found itself without many key players in the final few games. Assuming that the Bears aren't giving away the farm to teams looking to game plan them and knowing that Tank Johnson, Tillman, Vashar and Todd Johnson will be back and should be back in playing shape, it is safe to say that our defense will improve, whether it is enough to hold a sometimes explosive Saints offense come that time, we will have to wait and see.
While I don't see any of these being an issue, they still need to be mentioned. All three coaches have extra things they have to keep on their minds. Coach Smith is forever reading about his contract situation. Coach Rivera will get 2-3 head coach interviews in the week leading up to our first play off game. OC Ron Turner now has to figure out a playbook that takes into account keeping Grossman within himself, while also keeping it wide open enough to put points on the board and have it work properly if the need for Griese does come.
I don't think any of these in their current state is enough to make the Bears doubt their Super Bowl chances and with two weeks to fix whatever holes in the ship there are, I think things can be righted and we can look forward to seeing the Bears in Miami.