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 DE Israel Idonije looks like the Bears' most improved player and he questions the Bears' decision to not put a claim in on Randy Moss.
1. Which Bears player do you think has improved the most since the season started?
Arkush: My most improved Bear award would have to go to Israel Idonije, who has actually generated more pass-rush pressure than Julius Peppers in recent weeks. Idonije is very good against the run, is constantly found chasing plays down 10, 15 and 30 yards beyond where any D-linemen ever venture and is somewhat of a special-teams demon as well. He lacks Peppers' natural athleticism but makes up for some of it with great effort and he appears to be very coachable.
2. Were you in favor of the Bears putting a claim in on Randy Moss or against it?
Arkush: I believe if the Bears are serious about being a playoff team and possibly a Super Bowl contender, they had absolutely nothing to lose by taking a shot at Moss and probably owed it to themselves and their fans to do so. They mortgaged the future on a potential franchise quarterback and have given him nothing but No. 3, 4 and 5 wideouts to grow with. Even if Moss is no longer a true No. 1, he still would have been a huge upgrade for them and by not taking the shot it tells me they either aren't serious about contending, or don't know what it takes.
3. Of the Bears’ offensive linemen, who do you think has played the best this season?
Arkush: Olin Kreutz is easily the best Bears O-lineman, but it is unfortunately a tallest little-person award. Kreutz is not the perennial Pro Bowler he once was and can occasionally be beaten badly by large, strong tackles. He also has become prone to mistakes when he is trying to cover up too much for the horrible play around him. But he still ranks in the upper half of the NFC's centers, is incredibly savvy and sharp in his line calls and he still gets out in space and cleans someone's clock at least a few times each game.
4. DT Marcus Harrison started nine games last season, but has been a healthy scratch in all but one game this year. Why can’t he find the field?
Arkush: Unfortunately the Bears have become legendary for drafting players with great physical skills but no mental capacity for the game. Harrison has consistently fluctuated in and out of shape and has failed to learn either the three-technique or the anchor tackle position in the Bears' base Tampa-2. Put simply, Harrison appears to have no idea of the price one must actually pay to become a quality NFL defensive lineman.
5. Did you agree with the decision to move Todd Collins back to the No. 2 spot on the depth chart ahead of Caleb Hanie?
Arkush: Absolutely. There never should have been a change in the first place and now it appears it was a clear move to mollify uneducated fans rather than something that was in the best interest of the team. Caleb Hanie is an undrafted free agent from Colorado State who had an unremarkable college career and has demonstrated no specific asset or talent to suggest he will ever be more than a No. 3 quarterback in the NFL. There is a reason Collins has started only 21 games in 16 years in the NFL, and making his first start in almost three years against Carolina in Week Five behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL yielded predictable results. He still has a ton more knowledge, much better diagnostic tools, as good a release and a stronger arm than Hanie. It’s not a tough call to make.