The Chicago Bears go up this weekend against the Philadelphia Eagles, who will be missing Brian Westbrook. The game is on Sunday Night Football... which means that despite the absence of Westbrook, I still do not feel bad chalking this one up as a loss.
In Jay Cutler's three previous prime time performances (Packers, Falcons, 49ers), he accumulated the following total numbers: 73/131 for a 55 percent completion rate, 884 yards, three TDs and 11 Ints.
Now that doesn't mean Jay is going to come out and bomb, but I still feel very confident that the Bears chances of winning are slim. Especially considering how the offensive line has played and how much the Eagles' defense enjoys blitzing.
So if the Bears do lose and the playoffs become an afterthought, there are several changes that Lovie Smith needs to make in order for the Bears to be better prepared for the following season.
Lets start on the offensive side:
First, move Juaquin Iglesias into the receiver rotation. I like the trio of Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and Johnny Knox and those three should be the top options, but lets see what the kid has to offer if the Bears break out a four receiver set, that doesn't include Greg Olsen.
Second, as much as I like Dez Clark and how effective he has been, it is time to move Kellen Davis into a more prominent role since he will be the future No. 2 option at tight end behind Olsen. Get him some real game experience so he will be ready when the time comes.
Third, I want to see more Adrian Peterson. This has nothing to do with Forte, I just don't see a point in using him up this season if the playoffs are not a possibility. Let A.P. get some reps and take some pressure off of Forte. Might also spark him to play better if he isn't getting all the carries.
Fourth, the offensive line should be the following: LT Chris Williams, LG Josh Beekman, C Olin Kreutz, RG Roberto Garza, and RT Kevin Shaffer.
Orlando Pace is old and won't make it to the end of his contract before he retires and this is the line that should be in place next year, (unless we sign a big name free agent over the offseason... which is doubtful) so they should get time in now.
Fifth, bring up fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou from the practice squad and see what he has. Jason Davis has been a serviceable player, but he will never be exceptional and we need to find a replacement for him soon. Why not see what Ta'ufo'ou has to offer.
On the defensive side of the ball:
First, I want to see less Adewale Ogunleye and more of Mark Anderson/Gaines Adams. Both Wale and Anderson are in contract years. Anderson will be cheaper to keep if the Bears think he is worth it. Wale will be asking for more and if we are to part ways with him, we need to see if Anderson, or the new pick up in Adams, is capable of replacing him.
Second, I want to see less Tommie Harris and more Marcus Harrison and Anthony Adams. Tommie has been a pain in the butt for the past few years and never seems to want to give it his all. Harrison and Adams do. End of story. If I am going to watch this team with no real hopes for the playoffs, I want to watch players who want to be there.
Third, change up the secondary. Insert D.J. Moore into some situations when needed and continue testing out Nathan Vasher at safety. Change it up. If the playoffs are really out of reach, experiment a little bit so you have a better idea how effective some players are in REAL game situations so when next year comes, they are better prepared.
At some point, reality has to set in and changes should be made for the following season. I understand the argument that you play to win every game, and I am not advocating against that.
But I feel that the Bears are not playoff bound so why waste the second half of the season meddling in mediocrity as opposed to prepping the team to be more competitive next year.