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Monday Links

5 players on the hot seat for the second half.

Sharpe, now an analyst for the NFL Network, said: "Yes, Bernard Berrian is talented enough to be one of the best receivers in the league, and he has a great teacher in Muhsin Muhammad. But it is really difficult for him to stand out in that system, in an offense that works from the inside out.

"He's playing for a defensive-minded coach who likes to run the ball. The Bears are throwing only when they're behind. With his size, speed [and] knowledge of the game, I feel Berrian's along the lines of a Randy Moss in terms of having more of a vertical game than being a pure route runner. But in that offense, his opportunities are limited."

Berrian remains the team's top receiver, with 38 catches for 518 yards. Yet fans will remember his handful of drops more than anything.

"A lot of those dropped passes have to do with a loss of interest," Sharpe said. "It's difficult for the public to see that, but I know, especially when you're playing in that kind of offense.

David Haugh looks at the future of the Bears.

At quarterback, Grossman will leave via free agency and Brian Griese doesn't look like a long-term solution regardless of what happens in the final eight games. The Bears can explore trades (Donovan McNabb?), unrestricted and restricted free-agents (Derek Anderson?) or the draft (Andre Woodson?) in the continuing search for the next Sid Luckman.

At running back, maybe Benson can salvage some hope with an 800-yard second half. Or maybe the Bears will have to examine free agency and the draft--no more first-round running backs, please--for a runner able to put together three 1,200-yard seasons every defensive-oriented, ball-control team needs.

At wide receiver, Bernard Berrian is a free agent who has looked pretty replaceable in the first half of his contract year and Muhsin Muhammad is scheduled to make $1.6 million next year--a lot of money for a receiver on pace to catch 38 passes for 496 yards who will turn 35 in May.

On the offensive line, right tackle Fred Miller and left guard Ruben Brown have begun to show their age more than their blocking colleagues. Brown is a future Hall of Famer on a modest one-year $2.2 million deal but Miller is set to earn $4 million in each of the next two seasons.

Does reserving that salary-cap space for Miller and Brown again next season make more sense than going out and restocking the offensive line through free agency with a young veteran?

That's six positions of uncertainty just on offense.

But speaking of this season:

"We need to get on a streak," defensive tackle Darwin Walker said.

The Bears may need to duplicate the eight-game winning streak they produced in 2005.

"The potential is there," wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad said. "In '05, an eight-game winning streak; '06, seven-game winning streak.

"Here we are with an opportunity to go on another winning streak. We've got some games that we still have the skill to win right in front of us. We've got to do it."

Even with that, it will be tough or almost impossible.

They trail the wild-card leading New York Giants and Detroit by three games. The Bears would lose a tiebreaker with the Lions because of their 0-2 record in head-to-head match-ups.

The Bears also face the problem of trailing several other teams in the wild-card race.

An early look ahead to Oakland.

As poorly as the Bears played in the first half of the season, they're not nearly as bad as Oakland.

After Sunday's 24-17 home loss to the Texans, the Raiders (2-6) have dropped four in a row, with no signs of recovering. Their quarterback situation remains a mystery. First overall pick JaMarcus Russell still watches from the sideline, veteran Daunte Culpepper is benched for not moving the offense and unknown Josh McCown gives the team little reason to stick with him.

The Bears should be able to run against the Raiders, who surrender nearly 150 rushing yards a game and gave up 122 to the Texans' Ron Dayne on Sunday. Yes, Ron Dayne.

It will be a little tougher for Brian Griese to get going against Oakland's pass defense, which ranks as one of the league's best.