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 Jay Cutler definitely makes his list of the top 10 quarterbacks under 30 years old and that he'd be surprised if Tommie Harris is still with the Bears next season.
1. The Bears are tied with the Saints for the second-best record in the NFC, but are you convinced that they're no worse than the conference's third-best team?
Arkush: No. They may be one or two, but there's also still a very real possibility Atlanta, New Orleans, the Giants, Green Bay and Philadelphia are all still better than them. Can you actually say the Bears are better than the Giants? The Bears absolutely belong in the conversation, but there's a lot of football left to play to form any final conclusions.
2. How strong of a case is Lovie Smith building for Coach of the Year?
Arkush: He's certainly done a really nice job, but nobody's going to vote for him over Mike Smith, Bill Belichick or Steve Spagnuolo, and I doubt he'd beat Raheem Morris, Mike Tomlin or Todd Haley.
3. He didn't crack Terry Bradshaw’s top 10, but does Jay Cutler have a place on your list of the top 10 quarterbacks under 30?
Arkush: Right now Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger are the top four, and not necessarily in that order. Your next six come from a group of Joe Flacco, Josh Freeman, Mark Sanchez, Matt Schaub, Matt Cassel, Kyle Orton, Sam Bradford and Eli Manning. Cutler has to be in front of all of them except maybe Manning based on all of their careers to date.
4. Does it seem like Mike Martz has a better sense of how to use Greg Olsen than he did early in the season and how important is Olsen to the team's success on offense?
Arkush: Getting into Martz's head is impossible. Has he discovered Olsen because he didn't get him early, or out of necessity because he didn't realize his wideouts were so mediocre? When you look at how he's using Olsen and what he's asking him to do, he's really made him more of a wide receiver than a tight end. Tight ends in Martz's system aren't asked to do anything but block and Olsen isn't being asked to block.
5. Is Tommie Harris showing signs that he can be a valuable contributor down the stretch?
Arkush: No. The big play Harris made vs. the Eagles, and it was huge, changed the game, but it's the only play like that he's made all year. Maybe it's physical. Maybe it's mental. Maybe it's both, but Harris is a shadow of the player he once was, and it will be a huge surprise if he's a Bear again next year.