Chicago Bears Progress Report: Where Do They Stand Heading into Week 6?

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 07:  Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears attempts a pass during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on October 7, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

While the Bears share the lead for the NFC North, it hasn't been a smooth ride. In fact, as we talked about it last week, it's been anything but dull.

However, with a win over the Dallas Cowboys, followed by a trouncing of Jacksonville, the Bears appear to be on the right track. 

So let's take a look at where they stand going into their bye week.

Offense: Cutler and Marshall—(Almost) Perfect Together

Five games in and it's clear that this tandem have proven to be every bit as good as fans hoped. 

Marshall is well on his way to reach another 1,000-plus yards, and at the rate he's going, it wouldn't be a shock if he had a career year from a yardage standpoint. 

Cutler has settled into a nice rhythm now, as well and as long as the offensive line can keep him upright, he will find his No. 1 receiver. 

Losing Alshon Jeffery is a small blow, as the rookie was starting to find his feet, but the team believes in Earl Bennett and Devin Hester to pull them through.

There is nothing negative at all to say about the backfield either. Michael Bush and Matt Forte are playing well, and have so far been able to cover each other when one gets banged up.

If there is still a lingering question mark going into the bye week, it's the offensive line. By any measure, it's doing less well than the team had hoped for as Cutler remains one of the most hit quarterbacks in the league.

That said, they have taken small steps forward and will need to keep that up as the Texans and 49ers loom in Week 10 and 11.

It's the one spot where the offense consistently has issues and it does have an effect on the rest of the offense—quite often negatively.

If the Bears have Super Bowl aspirations, the offensive line struggles is one thing they have to find a way to overcome.

Wow is This Defense Old and Other Myths

Never really buying into the "this defense is too long in the tooth" theme that was being tossed around the media this summer, it comes as no surprise to me that this defense is playing well.

I can say, however, that just HOW well they are playing has been a shock.

This is a team which is playing better defense than it has in years—perhaps ever. They continue to hound the quarterback, cause turnovers and generally make a hash of things in the opposing backfield on nearly every down.

Even a less than 100 percent Brian Urlacher hasn't destroyed this defense (myth No. 2) despite the fact that he is very clearly not at his best. Perhaps if he was fully gone they would feel the impact, but as of now, he's only going to get stronger every week. 

The secondary—a big question mark before the year—has been outstanding and could feast off matchups against the Panthers and Titans (and if they don't get themselves in gear, even the Lions).

Looking at the defense going into the bye week, the defense is a huge part of why this team is winning. When the offense starts slow, the defense always comes in hot. 

This will make a huge difference in games against the Texans and 49ers.

The bye week will serve as a good time to heal up a bit (in Urlacher's case especially) and fine tune some of the rough edges on this team.

When they greet the Lions in Week 7, this team should be running like a fine-tuned engine.

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Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda.


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