Dissecting the Chicago Bears' 5 Weakest Links

Derek PiperCorrespondent INovember 14, 2012

Dissecting the Chicago Bears' 5 Weakest Links

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    The Chicago Bears had their strength tested in last Sunday's loss to the Houston Texans, while some of the team's weak links shaped up and others continued to struggle.

    It doesn't take Mike Ditka to figure out that the majority of those weak links reside on the offensive side of the ball this season.

    The fact that the highly-praised defense held the Texans to just 215 yards, while forcing Matt Schuab to post his lowest QB rating since 2008, showed that they came to play. Unfortunately for Bears fans, the offense—for a variety of reasons—failed to sniff the end zone, putting up a performance that was as sloppy as the field conditions.

    The Bears want to believe they are an elite football team this season, but a loss to the San Francisco 49ers would likely put the Green Bay Packers back in the driver's seat in the NFC North.

    You're only as strong as your weakest links, and here are the Bears' weakest five.

J'Marcus Webb

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    One of the most well-known weak links on the Bears this season has been left tackle J'Marcus Webb.

    While his play has been much improved of late, no one is forgetting Jay Cutler's near-death experience at the hands of Clay Matthews at Lambeau Field in September.

    Webb was assigned with the tough task of keeping Matthews out of the backfield, and failed miserably. Matthews totaled 3.5 sacks and four QB hits as the offense was completely dismantled.

    Webb was also manhandled by Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, allowing three sacks and three QB hits in the best game of Hardy's career.

    The offensive line has received a tidal wave of criticism this season—and most of it has been deserved—but it's only fair to note that the Texans did not register a sack last Sunday.

    Bears fans hope that means Webb has turned the corner, but remaining matchups with Aldon Smith (9.5 sacks), Jared Allen (7.0 sacks) and Clay Matthews (9.0 sacks) will determine if that is the case.

Kellen Davis

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    Kellen "Drop the Ball" Davis has found himself in Chicago's doghouse this season.

    Last year, offensive coordinator Mike Martz had Greg Olsen shipped away so that Davis, who was supposed to be an upgrade in pass protection, could assume the starting role.

    Since then, Davis has failed to live up to expectations. The fifth-year tight end has displayed hands of stone, while struggling with his blocking ability.

    Davis reached an all-time low against the Texans, dropping two catchable passes, including one on 3rd-and-11 late in the fourth quarter. To make matters worse, Davis also fumbled on Houston's 40-yard line on the Bears' first play from scrimmage.

    As if that wasn't enough to give Bears fans headaches, Olsen registered nine catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday.

Gabe Carimi

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    Gabe Carimi had a stellar college career at Wisconsin, but due to injuries and poor play, he has yet to live up to his first-round hype.

    The second-year tackle deserves a big pat on the back for blanking J.J. Watt in the sack column, but in other games, he has been not so impressive.

    Carimi's eight penalties this season are tied for the fifth most in the league. In addition, in relation to Cutler's grass-stained jersey, Carimi has many times been part of the problem rather than the solution.

    However, it was no fluke that he earned All-American honors in Badger Country. Carimi will get better with experience.

Quarterbacks

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    Last Sunday's game was not one for the quarterbacks.

    Cutler left with a concussion, but his play before that made Bears fans' heads hurt: 7-for-14, two interceptions and a 16.7 QB rating.

    Jason Campbell took the reins in the second half, and while his numbers were better than Cutler's, he was not good with his reads and was too quick to dump it off when the Bears needed to push the ball downfield.

    Granted, the field conditions were nothing like Peyton Manning used to see at the RCA Dome, but let's not let them entirely off the hook.

    Cutler's play has been mediocre this season, and his numbers in the Bears' two defeats are nauseating: 18-for-41, one touchdown and six interceptions.

    Now, the date of Cutler's return is unknown. Bears fans are glad Caleb Hanie is out of town, but it remains to be seen how well Campbell can lead this team.

Mike Tice

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    In any profession, when the workers consistently don't get the job done, the person in charge takes the fall.

    For whatever reason, the Bears offense has not gotten the job done this season, and Mike Tice deserves a large portion of the blame.

    Is he the one who misses a blocking assignment, drops a pass or throws an interception? No, but his job is to piece together an adequate offense, and so far he has not done that.

    The Bears offense currently ranks 28th in the league in total yards, and 31st in passing yards. Tice, who was supposed to be an offensive line guru, has seen his unit commit the second most false starts in the NFL (18), while giving up the second most sacks (28).

    The Bears average more than 26 points per game, but it would be naive to forget that the defense has scored seven touchdowns and spoon-fed the offense several others.

    The defense has carried this team all season long, and the Texans game was no different. The offense had eight of its 13 possessions start beyond its own 35-yard line, but could only amount to six points.

    The last thing this team wants is another offensive coordinator, but it doesn't need a dysfunctional offense either. And unless something changes, that is exactly what they have.