The Chicago Bears have hit the midpoint of their season and spend this week watching the rest of the NFL play while preparing for their game against the Philadelphia Eagles. This is a much-deserved bye week, as the Bears have already played some of the toughest games on their schedule.
Yes, there are more to come, but the Bears came into their bye week looking pretty good and have looked more like a playoff team in their last two games.
Like they did last year, the Bears are making some changes on offense, and this has helped them get back to playoff form. If the Bears can continue winning, it’s possible that they could make the playoffs.
So just how good are the guys on the offensive side of the ball doing? Where do they stand heading into the second half the season? How did they grade out in the first half of the season?
Let’s find out.
Jay Cutler: B-
Cutler has improved greatly over the past two-and-a-half games, and he’s getting help from his offensive line and wide receivers, which is a plus. If he can continue to improve and continue to stay upright, he has a great chance of leading his team to the playoffs.
Caleb Hanie and Nathan Enderle are incomplete.
Matt Forte: A++
Forte can be considered one the best running backs in the NFL at this time and is on pace to eclipse 2,000 yards from scrimmage. He’s the main cog in the wheel known as the Bears' offense, and without him, the Bears would be sinking right now. He’s clearly the most important part of the Bears' offense.
Marion Barber: B+
Barber missed some games with an injury, but he’s come back to be a welcome addition to the team. He’s a nice change of pace back for the Bears and a good short-yardage runner. Look for him to get much more action as the season goes on.
Kalil Bell: Inc.
The Bears haven’t used Bell enough to give him a grade for this season so far.
Tyler Clutts: C+
This grade is just about a good "B" for Clutts. Except for a couple of mistakes, he’s been a pretty reliable receiver out of the backfield and is showing himself to be much more of an asset on the offense.
Earl Bennett: Inc.
Bennett has been injured for most of the season and Cutler is missing one of his favorite targets. He could be back for their game after the bye week, and this would give Cutler the reliable receiver that he has been looking for.
Devin Hester: B-
After the past few seasons, Hester is still learning the wide receiver position, and this has really gone the way that the Bears had hoped it would. He still isn’t, and probably never will be, a No. 1 wide receiver, and perhaps he should be relegated to just work on special teams. But when he has caught the ball, he’s done some good things with it.
Sam Hurd: C+
If the Bears used Hurd more often, they might find that he is a pretty productive wide receiver that can play. But they don’t and should realize that they are missing out on something. Hurd has helped out on special teams and done a good job there.
Johnny Knox: C-
Knox has been somewhat of a forgotten man at times this season, and after having a few dropped passes, it does appear as if Knox is becoming a reliable receiver again. Perhaps the Bears will use him more often as the season goes on.
Dane Sanzenbacher: B-
The Bears got a real find in Sanzenbacher, and he has made an impact with the team this season. He may not be the ideal receiver on some teams, but he’s doing something and the Bears really like him.
Roy Williams: C+
Williams has been hot and cold, but for the most part, he hasn’t lived up to what the Bears thought that he was going to be this season so far. If he could catch balls on a consistent basis, he might have been a better pickup for the Bears.
Kyle Adams: Inc.
We haven’t really seen much of Adams this year. Perhaps the Bears will use him more as the season goes on.
Kellen Davis: C+
From what we have seen, Davis has potential but does not get used as much as a guy like Greg Olsen. And when he is used, there are times when he doesn’t make the catch. Perhaps we will see him used again later on in the season.
Matt Spaeth: B-
Spaeth has been quietly proving himself to be a good blocker, and in a pinch, he can catch passes as well. The Bears have found a solid tight end that will be able to help this team out in the passing game.
Lance Louis: C+
There have been times when Louis has looked good and other times where he hasn’t. He spent some time on the sideline with an injury and may have lost his job to Chris Spencer. He has filled in at the tackle position as well, making him somewhat more valuable.
Chris Spencer: C+
Spencer has been somewhat good at times and somewhat bad at others, but he may end up being the guy that replaces Louis. Spencer was a top draft pick by the Seattle Seahawks, which means that he has talent. He just hasn’t applied a lot of it yet.
Chris Williams: C+
The Bears' experiment of moving Williams from the tackle position to the guard position continues, but one good thing is that he is getting better and pretty soon, we may not hear much about him—and that’s the sign of a good offensive lineman.
Roberto Garza: A+
Filling the big shoes of Olin Kreutz was going to be difficult, but Garza has made it look easy and is doing a nice job of taking over for the long-time Bear. The only problem is that Garza may end up retiring soon, as he isn’t getting younger.
Who will replace him?
Edwin Williams: Inc.
Williams really hasn’t seen much action this season, so it’s hard to give him a grade.
Gabe Carimi: Inc.
Carimi was injured early on in the season, and is now just getting back into the lineup. Therefore, we will give him with an incomplete grade.
Frank Omiyale: F
Omiyale has had to fill in, and when he has, he’s done a pretty poor job. The Bears invested a good amount of money thinking that he would work out, but he’s done nothing good for the Bears—especially this season.
J’Marcus Webb: C+
There is room for improvement, and Webb needs some, but he’s getting better and starting to hold his own. The Bears are providing him some help on his side and he’s starting to get it, so let’s hope that the development continues. However, the Bears may want to take a look at a left tackle during the offseason.