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Recent posts by Dan Parr
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 gives his take on where Chris Williams should be playing and the relationship between Lovie Smith and Mike Martz.
1. What did you think of Chris Williams' debut at left guard and would it make sense to keep him there for at least the rest of this season?
Arkush: Williams was no better or worse than Roberto Garza or Edwin Williams have been, but it was his first crack out of the box. When you consider that Chris Williams looked mediocre at left tackle, Frank Omiyale seems to hurt you less on the left side than he did on the right side and that J'Marcus Webb is looking like he's at least worth more of a look at right tackle, Williams should stay at left guard for now.
2. Should the Bears have given up whatever the Patriots wanted to acquire Logan Mankins? And do you know if the Bears were willing to pay what it would take to sign Mankins to a long-term deal?
Arkush: The Bears certainly should have been exploring Mankins when they were 3-0 and 4-1 but clearly facing problems at the position. Their track record suggests they will pay top talent top money. With no cap to worry about and the window closing on their aging stars, now would have been the time. That said, there's no player worth overpaying for, and while the Pats have shopped Mankins, they may be seeking a lot more than they got for Randy Moss and anything more than a second-round pick for a guard is too much.
3. Some people are suggesting that Lovie Smith needs to rein in Mike Martz and force him to commit to the running game. Has Smith done a poor job of managing his offensive coordinator?
Arkush: Those people aren't NFL coaches. The relationship between Smith and Martz is the least of the Bears' problems, and how do you force Martz to run the ball when you know your O-line can't block it? Lovie brought Martz here to allow himself to focus on the "D" and that's exactly what he should be doing. Looking at the Bears' limitations on the line and at wideout, Lovie needs to let Martz try and bail them out, and the running game isn't going to be the answer.
4. Have you seen much improvement from any of the Bears' defensive linemen since Rod Marinelli joined the staff before last season?
Arkush: Great question because the answer is almost none whatsoever. Israel Idonije is showing some flashes now and that's about it. But again, the question you have to start with is, what does he have to work with? Have the Bears drafted any young D-linemen in recent years who've flourished elsewhere if not in Chicago? This is the constant question with the Bears: is the problem the coaches, the front office or both? Probably both, but it's hard to grade the coaches until the front office gets better.
5. What needs to happen for Greg Olsen's production to pick up after he was held without a catch in each of the last two games?
Arkush: One of the wideouts has to emerge as a consistent route runner who will catch everything thrown to him and can go deep. The Bears don't have a No. 1 at wideout and so far none of their guys have played well enough to be a No. 2. Certainly none of them command double-teams and that allows opposing D-coordinators to scheme for Olsen, which is something they couldn't do if they were worried about the wide receivers.