Can the Chicago Bears be Considered "Big Time" with the Offense Running Behind?

Scott OttersenCorrespondent IOctober 21, 2009

ATLANTA - OCTOBER 18:  Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears  warms up prior to the start of the game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on October 18, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Are the Bears ready to fulfill all the promise that the media was throwing on them this offseason?

I’m not sure yet.

At quick glance, it would appear that the offense is coming into its own, but I’m not a believer yet.

They are 13th in scoring, 19th in total yards, 16th in passing yards, and 27th in rushing yards.  And, that is with a schedule that included a bad Seahawks team, and an even worse Lions team.

When the Bears traded for Jay Cutler, he was being hyped as the man who would change everything.  He was the man who would jumpstart the up and coming offense in Chicago.  With the speed they had at wide receiver, they were going to be throwing deep on everybody, while Greg Olsen dominated the middle of the field, and lanes started opening up for Matt Forte due to the newfound passing attack.

Well, through five games, Greg Olsen has not shown to be all that effective.  Whether that be to his own fault for not getting open, or on Cutler for not finding him, or on the offensive strategies for purposely leaving him out of the plans.  He has scored touchdowns in the last three games, but the Bears still need him to keep drives alive by getting open over the middle and down the sidelines, utilizing the mismatches he was supposed to provide with his size and speed.

Not that the offensive woes are all on Olsen.  Where in the world is Matt Forte?  I wrote an article on him a few weeks back, and everything still seems to ring true about what I said in that article.  In the Bears game against Atlanta, there was a play where he, literally, dove into a pile of lineman when there was a gaping hole directly to the left of his body.  I just don’t think he is seeing the holes. 

I hate that the offensive line is getting blamed for his bad games.  Yes, I will agree that the Bears line is not up to standards, but I do not believe they are the entire reason behind his faults.  No matter how bad a line is, if an NFL running back gets 15 carries, he should not be outgained by his quarterback, who runs the ball three times for 34 yards.  That is shameful.

So, until the Bears find a running game, and figure out how to sustain more drives and turn them into points, I cannot see this team going deep into the playoffs.  Heck, I can’t even see them making the playoffs.

With a tougher schedule coming up, it is going to be inherently more difficult for the Bears to continue winning games with their ineffectiveness on offense.

They face off against the Cincinnati Bengals this week, who struggle against the pass, so this could be the week where Jay Cutler stakes his claim and finds ways to get all offensive weapons into the game.

I would still like to see the Bears throw the ball downfield more often.  With Devin Hester and Johnny Knox being faster than just about every cornerback in the league, I think the Bears need to find out if any corner can stick with them.

I didn’t touch upon the defense, because they have been doing an above average job so far this season, but if the offense cannot come up to standards of an elite team, I do not believe this Bears team stands a chance to make a dominant run this season.

I believe the Vikings, Giants, and Saints are all better teams than the Bears.  And, the Packers, Eagles, 49ers, Cardinals, and Eagles are somewhat on the same level, so it will be a tough go for the Bears to “surprise” teams this season and pull a 2008 Cardinals and fight their way through the playoffs and into the Super Bowl.

Stranger things have happened, but without the offense stepping up, I cannot see it happening.