Before the Chicago Bears play the St Louis Rams on Sunday afternoon, Da Windy City staff answers some questions about the Bears as week 12 is upon us.
1. Julius Peppers has slowly put together a nice string of games on the Bears defensive line. Is that one of the reasons why the Bears defense has kept opposing offenses from scoring at will against the team in recent weeks?
- Brandon Cain: Yes, Peppers is the leader on the defensive and they perform as their leader does.
- Dylan Burn: Of course, anytime you have a talented pass rusher like Peppers and he’s getting to the quarterback, your defense is going to have success.
- Marty Rosenbaum: Peppers has definitely played a part in helping the D look like the Bears defense we are accustomed to seeing. When he is a threat to opposing offensive lines, it frees up space for other defenseman to rush the quarter back, something that is key in making the defense effective.
- Brandon Bender: Peppers is now the face of the defense, and the play has been unquestionably ugly at times, but an overall team effort is what has kept the team in games.
- Jordan Campbell: I think Pepper’s success is being overstated. Peppers has been the beneficiary of poor offensive line play in recent weeks and that is reason that we have seen the Peppers of old. That being said, generating pressure on the quarterback is destined to improve any defense. So, yes, Peppers has contributed to the perceived success of the Bears defense in recent weeks.
2. Evaluate the play-calling of Bears head coach Marc Trestman.
- Brandon Cain: Trestman’s play-calling has been great except for in the redzone. The Bears need to run the ball in goal line situations with Matt Forte, not Michael Bush.
- Dylan Burn: There have been some plays that I have questioned, but overall I think Trestman is doing a good job calling plays in his first year with the Bears.
- Marty Rosenbaum: Trestman’s play calling has been good, but a bit below ideal. He has “modernized” the offense by not focusing on a run first game and that has come a long way in the development of a guy like Alshon Jeffery. The team struggles to score in the red zone, but it’s encouraging that they are able to consistently move the ball.
- Brandon Bender: Scoring and satisfaction usually come hand in hand. As long as the offense is scoring touchdowns, especially in the red zone, fans will approve of the job he’s doing. That said, he needs to pass on 4th and Goal instead of running a predictable play with Michael Bush.
- Jordan Campbell: Trestman has done an admirable job in bringing the Bears offense up to date. The only concern I have is that the red-zone struggles still exist. I’m of the thought that you want your best players in the game at the most important moments of the game, that is why the Bears need utilize Matt Forte more than they have been this season.
3. The Bears seemingly need to the win the division in order to have the best shot at making the playoffs, with that said, do you see the team making the playoffs?
- Brandon Cain: The Lions have arguably the easiest remaining schedule and swept the Bears this season but the Bears seem to still have a chance. Jim Schwartz is an awful coach, one week his team takes care of the Bears in a divisional showdown and the next week they struggle against the lowly Steelers. If the Lions inconsistent play continues the Bears have a chance.
- Dylan Burn: The way the Lions seem to be letting the Bears hang around by losing to mediocre teams like Pittsburgh, yes I do. I think the Lions are too inconsistent and the Bears seem to be finding ways to win tough ball games which helps late in the season.
- Marty Rosenbaum: Had the Lions not lost to Pittsburgh on Sunday, I would have said no. After witnessing them get shutdown by a mediocre Steelers team, the Lions seem to be too inconsistent to say it’s their division to lose. I think if the Bears win 4 out of their last 6 they can make the playoffs
- Brandon Bender: It seems that they always have to squeeze their way in and make life difficult for everybody. That’s how I see it again this year. They’ll control their own destiny and need help.
- Jordan Campbell: The Lions lack of discipline is the reason why Bears fans will be able to envision the Bears making the playoffs.
4. Does Josh McCown need to maintain his “perfect” play in order for the Bears to be successful?
- Brandon Cain: Any team whose quarterbacks does not commit turnovers puts the team in a situation to be successful and win.
- Dylan Burn: McCown doesn’t necessarily need to be perfect, but there can be no major fall out. He has to manage the game and make sure the Bears are in it at the end.
- Marty Rosenbaum: No. The Rams and the Vikings have struggled this year and with plenty of offensive problems of their own, McCown doesn’t have to be “perfect”. If he plays a classic “Kyle Orton Game Manager” type of game then the Bears should be alright. He will benefit from the monster seasons Marshall and Jeffery are having and needs to focus on getting rid of the ball quickly and not making bad turnovers.
- Brandon Bender: I don’t know if McCown has been “perfect” this season, but he’s been good enough to keep the Bears in contention, and that’s what matters.
- Jordan Campbell: The only game that McCown needed to be perfect was against the Green Bay Packers. The only thing that McCown needs to continue to do is manage the game and play to his own ability. That is the reason McCown has been so successful this season with the Bears.