Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.
What would you like to see the Bears do to help Caleb Hanie Sunday in Denver? I'd like to see them hand the ball off about 30 times to their running backs.
You mean other than scoring a couple touchdowns on defense and special teams? It goes without saying that a productive running game is always a quarterback's best friend. In the passing game, I'd like to see the Bears utilize Caleb Hanie’s athleticism by rolling him out of the pocket and having him run sone misdirection bootlegs and play-action passes like the Chiefs did last Sunday with Tyler Palko. I’d also like to see some screen plays and some quick throws after three- and five-step drops. Hanie needs to get the ball out of his hands quickly to have success. When he holds onto it and starts going through progressions, that’s when he gets in trouble and gets sacked or makes a bad throw.
Who is the offensive leader when the Bears are on the field? With Jay Cutler and Matt Forte both injured, who is the guy that can take the offense and inspire them to put points on the board? Every team needs a motivational presence to vocalize what needs to be done and get the guys pumped up to make a play. I don’t see this on the offense.
The top two leaders on the Bears offense now are probably veteran center Roberto Garza and quarterback Caleb Hanie. As the team’s most experienced offensive lineman and a very hard worker, Garza is excellent in that role, though his style is more lead-by-example than rah-rah. Hanie is more vocal in the huddle and commands the respect of his teammates even though he hasn’t played very much. I think it’s great to have leadership on the field, but it boils down to execution and players stepping up to fill the void when there are key injuries, and the Bears need to do a much better job of that on offense than they did in last Sunday’s disappointing loss to the Chiefs.
I think Sunday’s game was the most inept loss I have seen in my 43 years of being a fan. Every phase of the game shares this loss, especially the coaches. With Matt Forte out for four games, can we salvage this season?
Fort Collins, Colorado
If last Sunday’s loss was the most inept one you’ve ever seen, you probably didn’t watch the Bears’ 2000 defeat in San Francisco when their offense never crossed the 50-yard line or an embarrassing 41-3 loss in Green Bay in 1994. As far as Matt Forte is concerned, the good news is that he most likely won’t miss the final four games; he’s expected back before the end of the regular season. I think Marion Barber and Kahlil Bell will do a decent job picking up the slack while Forte is sidelined. A bigger question to me is at the quarterback position, where Caleb Hanie must improve his level of play while Jay Cutler continues to recover from thumb surgery.
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