Clint: What is the vibe in Chicago on Jay Cutler? Is it fair to say he just is not developing into the QB they thought they traded for?
Mike: The funny thing about Cutler is that people actually kind of feel sorry for him. Whether it’s a lack of wide receivers or getting bounced around like a pinball every week or the cooky Mike Martz playcalling, Cutler just can’t get it going. I think he’s by far the most talented quarterback the Bears have had since the days of leather helmets, but it’s now up to the coaches and management to put him in a position to succeed and they haven’t done it.
Clint: What is the explanation for Forte’s explosive start?
Mike: It’s funny how a man fighting for a contract can play. Forte has always been good, but he’s been pretty ridiculous this season; better than I ever recall. Part of it is an utter lack or offensive weapons for the Bears and part of it is Forte’s ability shining through. Forte is a dual threat – he’ll get you on the ground and make some big gains in the short passing and screen game. I’m not sure he can keep up his torrid pace, but it’s fun watching him try.
Clint: As long as I have been alive the Bears have been known for tough, hard nosed defense. It seems like that is not the case this season. What gives? What’s the vibe in Chi-Town regarding the defense?
Mike: People are pretty down on the defense right now. It seems like they got old and bad overnight. The biggest concern is the number of big plays the Bears are giving up because the whole point of the Cover-2 defense is to keep everything in front of them and making teams try to make long, sustained drives without making a mistake. Lovie Smith is trying to hold people accountable, especially since he benched both starting safeties Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather in favor of rookie Chris Conte and second year man Major Wright. Play action passes could catch those inexperienced safeties in the wrong position and offer opportunities for some big passes down the field. It also looks like Julius Peppers is doubtful for Sunday night, so it could give McNabb a little more time in the pocket to let plays develop.
Clint: How do the fans feel about “Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton” by Pearlman? I think most football fans feel it’s in poor taste. I’m curious about what the fans think that were up close and personal with #34.
Mike: Fans are pretty outraged about the book, but I think this book and the author are a bit misunderstood. From what I’ve heard, the book is very comprehensive and by and large, it’s a great tribute to the life of Walter. The emphasis has been on the few controversial sections of the book, where some less than flattering things about Sweetness were revealed. For me, nothing that this book could publish would tarnish my memories of Payton. I just exchanged e-mails with Pearlman and my copy of the book is on the way, so I’ll be able to judge for myself.
Clint: So tell us what goes down on Sunday Night Football.
Mike: The Bears will find ways to slow down Adrian Peterson (maybe a fumble or two?) and keep McNabb from getting the passing game going. Jay Cutler will take a few shots, as he always does, but Matt Forte will find enough room to keep the Bears offense moving. Don’t be surprised if Devin Hester pops a couple of big returns, since he always seems to make a big play in prime time. Bears find a way to get it done in an ugly one. Bears 23, Vikings 17.
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