Each week throughout the season we'll ask five questions of PFW publisher and Bears expert Hub Arkush to get his analysis on some of the top issues facing the team. This week, Hub says he's not too impressed with TE Brandon Manumaleuna thus far and gives his take on who should start at quarterback if Jay Cutler is unable to play.
1. Is there anything Mike Martz should be doing to help the offensive line that he hasn’t already tried?
Arkush: Martz has to commit to running the ball more than he'd like and more than he normally would in his offense. The best way to give struggling blockers some confidence is to let them try and fire off the ball and maul someone. Running the ball 18 times and averaging 2.8 yards a pop has no value. But running it 34 times and averaging 2.8 does. You'd rather get more yardage but at least those extra 16 "attacks" significantly wear down the defensive front, which also slows the pass rush, and gives your line a chance to feel much better about its physicality.
2. Has Brandon Manumaleuna been one of the more disappointing Bears players thus far?
Arkush: I don't know if it's fair to call him one of the more disappointing players, but if you ask me what he's contributed, I'd have to say I haven't seen a thing. He was supposed to improve the run game, which hasn't happened at all, and he's obviously not helping with pass protection, although I don't think that was the primary objective. He's not another Adam Archuleta, but he isn't giving them much.
3. Is there anyone on the roster, other than Julius Peppers, that is capable of pressuring the quarterback on a somewhat consistent basis?
Arkush: Both Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs have proven to be very effective blitzers at times, but the whole idea of overpaying for Peppers was to not have to blitz as much. Ideally, you don't want to blitz in the Tampa-2, but I don't see what the other options are. Tommie Harris appears to be done and there are no other potentially exciting penetrators on the defenisive line. Israel Idonije does a nice job in spurts, but is probably better suited to play the three-technique than rushing off the end where they have him now.
4. Did the Bears make a mistake by keeping Mark Anderson on the roster as long as they did?
Arkush: It's hard to call it a mistake since they were never going to get anything for him in a trade. If Corey Wootton is healthy, then they did make a mistake by making him inactive and keeping Anderson active as long as they did. Clearly Anderson has been giving them nothing, so they might as well have tried to find out what, if anything, the rookie could do. All that said, perhaps the real focus should be that they are still 3-1 with an awfully soft five weeks ahead of them. It's hard to say they've made too many mistakes.
5. If Jay Cutler were to miss a start in the future, should his replacement be Todd Collins or Caleb Hanie?
Arkush: You will get some debate on this one, but I'd say absolutely Todd Collins. I just haven't seen anything to suggest to me that Caleb Hanie is ever going to be an NFL quarterback. He wasn't a great college quarterback at Colorado State. It was a losing program and he's a good-but-not-great athlete with a decent but nothing-special arm.