After two straight come from behind victories to start the season, the Chicago Bears have the city buzzing over their potential.
Despite the undefeated start, there are still some concerns for the team this season. In this week’s roundtable, Da Windy City staff tackles those concerns in addition to discussing the meaning of the Bears’ upcoming game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
1. The Chicago Bears have a modern offense now. But their defense has taken a step back. Is the Bears’ offense capable of carrying this team to the playoffs?
- Brandon Cain: The Bears defense held Adrian Petersen to 100 yards and Greg Jennings did not even reach the 100 yard total, I would not call that a step back. The “concern” if you can it that after two games is the special teams return defense.
- Dylan Burn: To me this is the biggest question mark. As there defense starts to age a little, will their offense be able to pick up the slack. My early gut feeling is no, but time will tell if Cutler can be a leader and get his team where they want to be. They had luck on their side last Sunday. However, it was a gutsy team win.
- Brandon Bender:Any offense pitted with Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall is playoff-caliber, and even though they’ve bailed the defense out two weeks in a row, it’s a cause for concern. They can’t keep counting on 4th quarter comebacks to save them all season long.
- Jordan Campbell: If the Bears make the playoffs, it will be because of their offense. That is why the team hired Marc Trestman to be their head coach. While the sample size is small, Trestman’s offense appears to be an offense that can be depended on. The encouraging sign is the comebacks and how Jay Cutler has played in those situations. Yes, Cutler has four turnovers in two games, but the quarterback’s talent–especially in Trestman’s offense–has outweighed his mistakes.
2. The Bears defense has failed to close the game out on any opposing offense. Is that a result of the changes that were made or the increasing age of the Bears’ core defensive players?
- Brandon Cain: No, gang tackling absence perhaps with the YAC the two opposing offenses have had.
- Dylan Burn: It’s a little bit of both. Obviously the changes that were made will affect you early on, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see these guys settle in after a couple weeks. Age is also a big factor. You think about Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, and Julius Peppers as the leaders on defense. These guys are old, but still have a lot of fight left in them.
- Brandon Bender: The defense was already aging with Brian Urlacher, and even without him, the unit is still old. Peppers is 33, Briggs and Tillman are 32, and D.J. Williams is 31. As we’ve seen in the first two games, the defense is no longer what it used to be.
- Jordan Campbell: It’s neither. The Bears defense has played relatively well in their first two games. Where the defense gets caught is on third downs. That is because of the lack of pressure that the Bears’ defensive line is generating on opposing quarterbacks. But two of the players on the defense line–Julius Peppers and Henry Melton–are playing with essentially having no pre-season. Give the defensive line another two weeks. If the problem still exists, then there will be reason to concern.
3. If the Bears win against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night, that will say _______about the rest of the season?
- Brandon Cain: If the Bears win Sunday evening it will prove they can win on less than ideal field conditions.
- Dylan Burn: I don’t think it says much really, I thought the Bears got a little lucky in the game against the Bengals. Some Bengal players made some stupid decisions down the stretch and then obviously barely squeaking by Minnesota when you hold AP under 100 yards should be a little alarming.
- Brandon Bender: It’ll say that their record is better than what it really should be. They’ve been lucky the first two weeks, and eventually they’ll run out of luck.
- Jordan Campbell: It will show that the team can operate in what is still one of the toughest places to play. The Bears have not been tested on the road. Going to Pittsburgh when the Steelers are desperate for their first win of the season is definitely going to be a hostile environment for the team.