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Five questions with PFW publisher Hub Arkush

About the Author

Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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Posted Dec. 31, 2010 @ 2:24 p.m. ET
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 says the Pro Bowl voters snubbed Brian Urlacher by not making him a starter and that special-teams coordinator Dave Toub deserves a chance to be a head coach.

1. Did the Pro Bowl voters get it right when it came to the Bears players — Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers and Devin Hester — that were voted in?

Arkush: The Pro Bowl voters got it close to right other than with Urlacher, who should be the starter ahead of 49ers LB Patrick Willis. Willis won a beauty contest this year and didn't play as well as he had the last few years. Quite frankly, Lance Briggs won a beauty contest too and probably doesn't deserve the trip this year. The only Bear with a legitimate gripe is Peanut Tillman, who is absolutely more deserving than DeAngelo Hall, but there are at least three or four other corners a lot more deserving than Hall as well.

2. Jay Cutler said Lovie Smith told his players they would be "full-go" against the Packers on Sunday, but the Bears may be locked in as the No. 2 seed if the Falcons beat the Panthers earlier in the day. Is playing the starters for the full game, regardless of the seeding situation, the best strategy?

Arkush: Assuming the Falcons or Saints win early, Lovie has to pull his starters after the first or second quarter and I believe he will. Lovie's track record from '05 and '06 says he believes in playing it safe and with the remarkable luck they've had with injuries this year, the Packer game is absolutely not the time to tempt fate with nothing to gain, assuming Atlanta and New Orleans don't both mess the bed in their games.

3. Patrick Mannelly said earlier this week that special-teams coordinator Dave Toub deserves a chance to be a head coach in the NFL. Do you agree and what do you think the chances are of him getting that chance?

Arkush: Dave Toub is as deserving a candidate as you'll find anywhere and absolutely should be a head coach some day. It's tougher for special teams coaches and I'm not sure why as their jobs are the same as being an offensive or defensive coordinator and require even more diversity. But Toub is too good to stay hidden much longer. I was shocked when he told me the summer before the '09 season he hadn't even had an interview yet, but that will change after this season. Dave's one drawback could be that he'll be seen by some as too nice of a guy and not forceful enough, but that will be a mistake by whoever makes it. He's ready.

4. The Bears signed Mannelly and Matt Toeaina to contract extensions earlier this week. Who is the next player you would like to see the Bears lock up before free agency?

Arkush: The unfortunate reality of the Bears' failures in recent drafts is there is nobody else. Cutler, Urlacher, Peppers, Briggs and Tillman are all tied up already and other than them, who else are you really worried about losing? Maybe you try and get a bargain deal with a Matt Forté, Johnny Knox or J'Marcus Webb, but only if you're buying cheap. The one free agent the Bears have to worry about will be Olin Kreutz. He may not be the player he once was, but he's still better than most and he's absolutely the key to the O-line improvement in recent weeks. Without him they'd be totally screwed, but how much do you pay a 33-year-old center on the backside of the hill? If they're smart, they'll overpay and get him locked up for at least two more years.

5. Should the Bears be looking for a new complementary back to pair with Matt Forté this offseason, even though Chester Taylor is signed through 2013?

Arkush: Chester Taylor has been a disappointment and Garrett Wolfe clearly isn't the answer. i had hoped to get a look at Kahlil Bell, but I guess we won't, so they'll have to do something. When backs above the age of 30 lose it the way Taylor seems to have this year, they rarely recover, unless they have a "mystery injury" like Forte did in '09. As huge as the needs are at O-line, secondary, wideout and D-tackle, it can't be a priority, but they should look for help.

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