Chicago Bears running back Michael Bush takes a hand off from Jay Cutler in the Monday night game against the Dallas Cowboys
The Chicago Bears were relatively active during the free-agency period of 2012, adding depth and trading for Brandon Marshall to fill the void the team had at the receiver position. After the first four games of the regular season, it’s time to give some early-season grades to the Bears’ top offseason acquisitions.
He has succeeded in doing just that.
Marshall’s production level in recent NFL seasons has been that of a top-five wide receiver, as he’s caught more than 80 passes and gone over 1,000 receiving yards five straight seasons.
Marshall is on pace to duplicate that level of production here in Chicago, as he’s already on pace for 92 receptions and 1,408 yards. There’s absolutely no reason to think Marshall won’t achieve those numbers with Jay Cutler targeting him twice as often as any other receiver on the roster.
Rachal started out as the backup left guard, but—with Chris Spencer struggling in the first two games—he has been inserted as the starter. Rachal’s reputation is that of a solid run-blocker who is not as good as a pass-blocker.
Through two starts he has played well enough to ease some of the concerns that greeted his insertion into the starting lineup.
Hayes was added to the roster to provide much-needed depth at linebacker. Hayes saw a lot of action in the second half of the season opener against the Colts and got some late-game action in Week 4 against the Cowboys.
Thus far Hayes has totaled seven tackles on the season.
Another linebacker addition, Constanzo was added to the roster for his special teams contributions, and he hasn't disappointed. Costanzo has recorded two special teams tackles, good for second on the team through four games.
Kelvin Hayden was added to push Tim Jennings for a starting role at the cornerback spot opposite Charles Tillman. Jennings has excelled in the face of that challenge, putting together his best season yet. Hayden filled in nicely when Charles Tillman went down with a shin injury during the first game.
Hayden has six tackles and one pass breakup on the season. He is back to playing limited snaps with Tillman healthy.
Bush was brought in to be the Bears’ short-yardage running back and to occasionally spell Matt Forte.
Bush has filled that role nicely, scoring three touchdowns while racking up 180 yards on 54 carries. While not a battering ram, Bush does not get stopped behind the line of scrimmage very easily.
Forte has battled a nagging ankle injury, and Bush has been up to the task in filling in. Bush is a rhythm running back who gets better with the more carries he gets, so his 3.3 yards per carry is somewhat skewed because of a lack of consistent carries and his usage as a short-yardage back.
Jason Campbell was brought in to be Jay Cutler’s backup, and he has not seen any time on the field because Cutler has been healthy. I don’t expect to see him on the field going forward—unless Cutler gets hurt.