Four games are now in the books. Here are four questions for the Chicago Bears.
(1) Can the defense make quarterback “just another position”?
When Mitch Trubisky went off the field Sunday, for what looked like a significant period of time, there was a feeling of “uh oh, season over”. Then Chase Daniel stepped in and it just…wasn’t. Nobody would argue the Bears are better long-term with Daniel behind center. But there have been plenty of Super Bowl champion defenses – Dilfer’s Ravens, Big Ben’s first Steelers, Peyton’s Broncos – who have carried mediocrity at QB to a title. Normally backup quarterback = losing. But could the Bears defense be good enough to change that equation?
(2) Can they keep their starters on the field?
The Bears have suffered more injuries and weirdness in a month than they suffered all of 2018. Bobbie Massie vertigo? Roquan Smith personal reasons? Hicks, Trubisky, Nichols and Long hurt. Gabriel concussed. Eddy Pineiro hurt his knee doing what exactly in the weight room? It’s beyond cliched to write an NFL season is a war of attrition but there’s truly no better to state that obvious fact. Look at how narrow the gaps are at the top of the NFC. It’s very likely the team making it to Miami in February will be the team that stays healthiest.
(3) Where is the run game?
The Bears are bottom ten in both yards per carry and rushing yards per game. Not sustainable. Not when the roster is constructed the way it is in Chicago. The Bears have not been as good as expected in the middle of their offensive line but one can only expect a more comfortable Daniels and hopefully-healthy Long will improve as the season moves along. That coupled with a commitment to David Montgomery should get things going, right?
(4) How good is the division?
The Packers are terrific on defense and still have Aaron Rodgers.
The Vikings are terrific on defense but still have Kirk Cousins.
The Lions…I’m not sure what the Lions are. (But I think they’re pretty good.)
Through four games of the season, this is the best division in the sport, and they have ten wins to prove it. It’s starting to look like it’ll take 11-5 at minimum to win the NFC North and 10-6 to get into the postseason. Could the division send three teams into the tournament?