In this week's Five Questions, PFW publisher and editor and Bears expert Hub Arkush gives his take on Jay Cutler's decision making and says Chris Harris might be looking over his shoulder at Brandon Meriweather.
1. How much of a difference do you see in Jay Cutler's mechanics compared to last season?
Arkush: None, but I think his decision making is much better because he's more comfortable with the scheme and thus his release appears much quicker. Sunday was just the first day of his running for his life. If that continues over the next couple weeks, the mechanics are likely to degrade much like last year.
2. What's your assessment of OTs J'Marcus Webb and Gabe Carimi after one game?
Arkush: They both have a ton of work to do and Carimi was particularly disappointing vs. Falcons, but I still like both of them. It's going to be a tough year, but I expect them both to be much better in Week 10 than they are now. Even if they're not ready by the end of the season, I think they're both worth developing and could be bookends for 5-7 years. They just may not be ready for a year or so.
3. How impressed are you with Henry Melton?
Arkush: He's been very impressive, but remember he was facing a center and guard in their first NFL starts for the Falcons. The real test is this Sunday vs. the Saints. If he continues to be a factor, I'll begin to believe he can be special at the three-technique. If he takes a step back, it's not a disaster, but it will confirm he's still just a fullback learning to play defensive tackle.
4. Are you concerned that Major Wright’s growth will be stunted if Brandon Meriweather gets more involved, or gets the starting job, at free safety?
Arkush: Why is everyone assuming Meriweather is here to replace Major Wright? The Bears like Wright a lot, he's still learning and improving and Lovie Smith always talks about the safeties being interchangeable in his system. I'm not at all convinced that Chris Harris isn't the guy who should be looking out for his job. Right now, Harris and Wright are both liabilities in pass coverage and Harris already has been traded away by the Bears once because of his deficiencies in that area. Look for Meriweather to get on the field with Wright and/or Harris, and if Meriweather performs, Harris could be the odd man out next year.
5. Have you seen anything from rookie QB Nathan Enderle that makes you think keeping him on the roster is a good idea?
Arkush: Yes. Mike Martz loves him and that's a powerful ally for a quarterback to have. Also, with the beating Cutler may continue to take, and knowing the same thing will happen to Caleb Hanie if he has to play, the quicker you can get a third guy ready to go, the better insurance policy you have. I don't know if Enderle is an NFL quarterback or not, but I know he can't be much worse than Todd Collins was last year and it looks like the O-line could cause the Bears to need at least three quarterbacks again this season.