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 tells us where he thinks Brian Urlacher fits on the list of the franchise's best linebackers and says the Bears need to make a strong effort to re-sign C Olin Kreutz after the season.
1. Is the Bears' defense going to keep its streak of impressive performances alive or will Michael Vick be able to expose some weaknesses in it on Sunday?
Arkush: Vick doesn't expose weaknesses so much as he just does things nobody else can do. The Bears are as good a matchup as anyone for him, but if the safeties, Chris Harris and Danieal Manning, get caught cheating up to keep him from running, which they will be prone to do, the Bears could give up some big plays down the field to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.
2. Jerry Angelo recently said that he wouldn't take another defensive player in the league outside of Julius Peppers. Do you agree with Angelo, or are there other players on "D" that you would rather have?
Arkush: Rather have is a tough call, but Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson, Dwight Freeney, Osi Umenyiora, Trent Cole, James Harrison, Vince Wilfork and most importantly Brian Urlacher are just a few you'd have to take a look at.
3. Brian Urlacher became the Bears' all-time leading tackler by making his 1,488th career stop against the Dolphins. How high is he on your list of the best linebackers in the franchise’s history?
Arkush: Urlacher is a close second to Dick Butkus as a game changer, but a distant third to Butkus and Bill George as a pure linebacker. The problem with the question is guys like Joe Fortunato, Doug Buffone, Otis Wilson and Wilbur Marshall were all great linebackers. I would say that Mike Singletary is one of the more overrated players in the Hall of Fame and Urlacher gets a definite nod over him, which is no slap at Singletary, who was a very good player.
4. C Olin Kreutz will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. How hard should the Bears push to re-sign him this offseason?
Arkush: I'm sure they won't want to give him more than a one- or two-year deal, but with the problems they have on the offensive line, and P.R.-wise in some people's minds, they need to make a significant effort to keep him. He's not the player he once was, but it's still his locker room and he's still more than serviceable on an O-line that has several players who aren't.
5. Pisa Tinoisamoa missed last week's game because of a knee injury. Nick Roach started in his place. Both players will be free agents in the offseason, though. Should the Bears take a look at what else is available at strong-side linebacker or do you think Roach or Tinoisamoa — or both — are worth bringing back?
Arkush: Both are worth bringing back and the Bears need to keep at least one, and probably should try for both. Roach is younger, healthier, more versatile and can probably play all three spots in Lovie Smith's "D." But when healthy, Tinoisamoa is still the best option on the strong side.