The Chicago Bears are at the bye week. Unfortunately, the bye week could be seen as the team’s funeral.
On Monday, it was discovered that Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler and linebacker Lance Briggs will both be sidelined for an extended amount of time. Cutler will miss at least four weeks while Briggs is expected to be out at least six weeks.
Cutler and Briggs went down at an unfortunate time for the Bears. The Bears play the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, and Baltimore Ravens in their first three games after the bye week.
With the future of the Bears season in question, Da Windy City staff tries to provide some clarity.
1. Talk about a season-altering game. Cutler out. Briggs out. Where do the Chicago Bears go from here?
- Brandon Cain: They head to their bye week where the coaches will prepare for a high profile match up against division rival Green Bay on Monday Night Football. Game planning for Eddie Lacy will be difficult for the Bears with linebacker Lance Briggs out and cornerback Charles Tillman nursing an injury.
- Dylan Burn: While both injuries are significant, I feel that losing Briggs is more of a blow at this point. McCown did a fine job backing Cutler up and the defense was still atrocious. Something needs to be done during the bye week because things don’t get any easier as they have Green Bay right out of it.
- Brandon Bender: Move on to the next man up. Sure, injuries hurt, but Josh McCown and Khaseem Greene now have an opportunity to learn and grow.
- Jordan Campbell: Take a week off. The Bears eulogy will certainly be written this week while the team takes a break from football. But, that is what the team needs. Get away from the game and recharge their batteries. Then, return next week ready to game-plan for the Green Bay Packers.
2. Josh McCown impressed on Sunday against the Redskins. But, he is still Josh McCown. If you were Phil Emery, do you stick with McCown or look for a short-term upgrade?
- Brandon Cain: They should stick with Josh McCown, bringing in a short-term upgrade ie. Josh Freeman or Tim Tebow would be a set back since they would have to learn the system.
- Dylan Burn: I think I stick with McCown, I thought he made some nice plays both with his legs and his arm. If Matt Forte remains productive and Cutler comes back on schedule, McCown is the guy.
- Brandon Bender: McCown has experience playing with this group, and he looked good. You stick with him and build from within. Seriously, nobody wants to see Brett Favre or Tim Tebow in a Bears uniform.
- Jordan Campbell: Josh Freeman’s performance on Monday night is why the Bears will not sign a short-term replacement. But when was the last time any McCown was relevant in the NFL?…I’ll wait.
3. Biggest concern for the Bears going forward this season: Backup quarterback or defense?
- Brandon Cain: Defense is the biggest concern, McCown looked comfortable and poised on Sunday while the defense struggled against the pass across the middle.
- Dylan Burn: Defense. They were already terrible before the Briggs injury and 2/3 of the starting linebacking core is injured.
- Brandon Bender: No team can afford to lose its quarterback, but truth be told, it doesn’t matter who this team’s quarterback is because the defense is in such sorry shape.
- Jordan Campbell: As long as Chris Conte and Major Wright are playing the safety positions for the Bears defense, the defense will always be the primary concern.
4. Does the injury to Cutler change what the Bears should do at the quarterback position in the off-season?
- Brandon Cain: It will change their approach as they will be more likely to pursue a quarterback in the draft, a free agent, or propose a trade for someone who would excel in Trestman’s system. Washington backup Kirk Cousins would be a great fit.
- Dylan Burn: It doesn’t seem like a terribly significant injury so he should heal up and be able to finish off the year as the starter so I think you assess his performance over the last weeks of the season. No early decisions will be made.
- Brandon Bender: If the season ended today, Emery and Trestman would likely move on from Cutler. Of course, everything could change if he comes back and becomes the savior late in the season and leads them to the playoffs.
- Jordan Campbell: Nope. Cutler critics get to come out of the woodshed and insist that his injury is the reason why the team should move on the quarterback position. Don’t be silly. If the Bears let Cutler walk in the off-season, then the team might as well be called the 2013 Minnesota Vikings.
5. Who is the blame on defense; Mel Tucker? or the players?
- Brandon Cain: The players are to blame, Mel Tucker designs a game plan and it is up to the players to execute it. Primarily the injuries to the interior of the defensive line have hurt the defensive line pass rush which is not performing well.
- Dylan Burn: It’s both, but Mel Tucker doesn’t seem like he has these guys ready to go every week. They sometimes look lost and a lot of that has to deal with lack of preparation by both the players and Tucker. The defense also has less talent on it than it has in years past.
- Brandon Bender: We knew all along that this would be a transition year for the defense under Mel Tucker, but since Week 1, they’ve lost D.J. Williams, Henry Melton, and Nate Collins for the year, and now Charles Tillman is out for a while too. How do you prepare for a rash on injuries like that? Tucker will certainly have to keep making adjustments, but you can’t blame him for the team’s struggles given its depleted manpower.
- Jordan Campbell: The players. Injuries to Henry Melton and Nate Collins have decimated the defensive line. Julius Peppers is playing piggyback with running backs. Major Wright is missing tackles on opponents but tackling his own teammates. Chris Conte is being terrorized by opposing quarterbacks. Shea McClellin has no business in a 4-3 defense.