With the bye week, we’re using the Five Questions column for self-examination as we try to figure this team out. Wednesday we discussed Jay Cutler, Thursday was John Fox, and today we’re taking a look at the direction of the offensive as a whole.
Jeff Berckes: On the offensive side of the ball, do you like the direction this unit is heading? What pieces are missing from making this the unit you'd like it to be? In other words, where should the focus be in the offseason?
Robert Zeglinski: I'm a huge fan of what the Bears have been able to do on offense. The offensive line, after early struggles, looks like it is wholly solidified. Chicago is in position to have the best interior in the league with Whitehair, Long, and Sitton over the next few years. Charles Leno is a solid left tackle and even Massie doesn't look like a turnstile. There's depth at receiver with Cameron Meredith emerging and the Bears probably have their star tailback of the future in Jordan Howard. All the pieces are in place to be a dominant unit. In the offseason, I'd like to see them draft a tight end and sign a right tackle. The depth on the line is still lacking and they could another option at tight end for a new dimension as well as Zach Miller being in his early 30's. These are probably the last two pieces they really need to have every possible base covered.
Steven Schweickert: There's a little more optimism here than the few games of Brian Hoyer, especially if Dowell Loggains got his wakeup call of adapting the Hoyer gameplan to Cutler. A tight end would be huge, in that Miller is a mid-to-low level starter and the backups in Logan Paulsen and Ben Bernanke (excuse me, Braunecker), perhaps another offensive lineman, if Kevin White comes back and can play but barring that maybe another down the chart receiver (Cameron Meredith has looked pretty good).
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.: Dowell Loggians was forced to alter his approach with Brian Hoyer under center, but last week the gameplan against the Vikes was really, really good. I think the offense could still use some o-line help, another legit option at tight end, and a young quarterback in the pipeline, but if Jordan Howard continues to do what he's doing, he will be the centerpiece of Chicago's 2017 O.
Jack M Silverstein: O-line and RB depth. I actually don't think the offense is that far away from being able to score 3-4 TDs every night. Just give Jay time to throw and Running Back Du Jour room to run.
Jeff Berckes: I’m sensing a little bit of hesitation on the talent of Jordan Howard. It’s like we want to annoint him but we’re a little hesitant. Anyone not sold on the future of this running game / offensive line?
Sam Householder: The offensive line has come into its own but there is still a lack of depth there. An infusion of talent at tackle wouldn't hurt. I'm still not sold on our running backs: I like Jordan Howard but he doesn't have breakaway speed, Ka'Deem Carey is nice once in a while but what does he do really well? Jeremy Langford might be a nice speed back but he's never been consistent. Overall though I do like their direction. The WR depth might not be great, hopefully Kevin White can come back some day and bring a better speed element but that's the last thing that's really missing right now.
Ken Mitchell (aka Sab, aka Den Master): Alshon Jeffery needs to be a Bear in 2017, whether it's by a new contract or under the Tag again. We need to keep the guys we have on the OL, and continue to draft OL (our RT is still our weakest link). Honestly, we have great depth everywhere but tackle. I think we are set at running back as well, with Howard, Carey and Langford we have three different guys with different looks. Zach Miller has been great, and the rookie Ben Braunecker shows promise, but we seriously need to upgrade that position with a beast-type blocking TE who can actually block.
Jeff Berckes: So we’re all agreed? Everything is going in the right direction and with the addition of a playmaking tight end and a better right tackle, this unit is gangbusters?
EJ Snyder: In general, no... but they looked like a different team Monday night. Based on that I'll give the same answer I gave above; it depends on the games that are left. If the unit executes, plays hard and shows the capacity to be both creative and aggressive enough to impose their will on a defense, then Loggains stays. One major caveat: if the Bears are moving on from Jay to draft a new QB, and they don't believe Loggains is the guy to develop a young passer, then a new OC who the Bears believe can do that job should come on board ASAP after the season. As for missing pieces, TE is an obvious choice as a dynamic dual-threat TE would be a great chess piece for any OC. RT is an obvious need but the less obvious answer might be WR. If Alshon walks over money/health concerns (I hope he doesn't) and White can't beat the injury bug, there really isn't anyone to start opposite Meredith who has shown the ability to start. The need for starting WR would move way up the list in that scenario.
Josh Sunderbruch: On the offense, the focus has to be on drafting Cutler’s replacement/heir. Right now, they don’t have a direction; they just have the status quo. After that, any investment on the offense should really be on the line. I’m not a Massie or a Leno believer yet. But seriously, they need to draft another quarterback.
Okay, your turn. Is there a position that sticks out as the #1 target to you? Is there a player in the draft that has caught your eye that would look particularly good in Navy and Orange?