Top 5 Concerns After the First Quarter of the Chicago Bears Season

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3.  Jay Cutler’s ball security

Sep 15, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (69) sacks Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) and forces a fumble during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

In season’s past, this would be tops on my list.  That’s a testament to my confidence in Marc Trestman and his ability to work with Jay Cutler and get the message across.  Cutler has been better in 2013, but it clearly wasn’t good enough on Sunday.

Cutler was plain careless with the ball on Sunday and it cost the team.  He may have been Mr. Fourth Quarter over the first three weeks, but that might be because he created situations to force himself to be Mr. Fourth Quarter.  Cutler has thrown six picks in the first four weeks of the season, meaning he’s on pace for 24 on the year.  That’s not good enough, especially when you consider how much the offensive line has improved.

Trestman’s influence over Cutler isn’t going to happen overnight; it’s a process.  Let’s just hope it’s not a painful one.

2.  The defensive line

Sep 22, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers center Fernando Velasco (61) at the line of scrimmage against the Chicago Bears defense during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Bears won 40-23. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The defensive line was a question mark at the start of the season and that was before Hank Melton was lost for the season and we confirmed our fears that Shea McClellin can’t play worth a damn.  The Bears can’t pressure the quarterback with their front-4 and they can’t stop the run, but other than that, the defensive line is just fine.

While I’m a convert to the Kyle Long selection, wouldn’t DT Sharrif Floyd look good in the Orange and Blue?  Wouldn’t any draft picks?  Phil Emery and the Bears neglected the position until they picked up Zachary Minter as an undrafted free agent, and they lacked the confidence in him Julius Peppers was a ghost the first few weeks of the season and he’s ranked as the Bears’ best defender by ProFootball Focus through the first four weeks.  What does that tell you?

On the other end of the spectrum, you have Shea McClellin, who’s the worst ranked Chicago Bears defender through the first month of the season.  Shea isn’t stout enough to play with his hand on the ground.  He can’t set the edge and teams are targeting him.

1. Charles Tillman’s health

Sep 29, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) scores a touchdown while being guarded by Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman (33) during the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Tillman has been a Pro Bowl performer the last couple of seasons, a long overdue distinction.  In fact, he’s the best cornerback in Bears history, playing before our very eyes.

Peanut has yet to play an entire game as he’s been plagued by nagging – or not-so-nagging – injuries.   This is what getting old in the NFL looks like.  It’s nagging injuries that keep you off the field.  It’s being a step slow to come up in run support.  It’s a ball punch that doesn’t dislodge the ball.

The depth at cornerback is going to be a problem this season.  It’s a shame that Phil Emery couldn’t address this in the last offseason, especially since Tillman is in a contract year and I’m sorry, but Zac Bowman isn’t the answer beyond 2013.  If Peanut misses any significant time the Bears defense might just collapse.

What are YOUR concerns at the quarter pole of the Bears season?  Let’s see your comments.


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