In this week's edition of "Five questions," PFW publisher/editor and Bears expert Hub Arkush says the Bears should be just fine without Chris Williams and gives his assessment of D.J. Moore's performance this season.
1. How concerning is the loss of OG Chris Williams?
Arkush: Not overly concerning. As hard as the Bears and some media have tried to sell it, Williams was something short of mediocre at the position and there's no reason to assume the next Williams up, Edwin, can't achieve something similar. You hate to see anyone get hurt, but when you compare this to other significant injuries around the league the last couple weeks — in Houston, Kansas City, Washington, Buffalo, etc. — it's really quite insignificant.
2. What do you think is the Bears' biggest weakness at this point?
Arkush: Until they can show consistent pass pressure every week, particularly from the inside without moving Julius Peppers in and giving up their outside rush, it's a big concern. They are also still nowhere near good enough at wide receiver. With the Bears in max protection on most passing downs, teams will figure out how to take away Earl Bennett, and if you've gotten comfortable with the safeties you are really kidding yourself.
3. Do you think Julius Peppers is playing better than he was earlier in the season?
Arkush: No question about it. Peppers was great against the Falcons in Week One and then for the most part disappeared until Week Six. I'm not sure what that was all about, but he has definitely been a game changer in the opener and the last four wins. I'm not sure where he was between late September and the second half of October.
4. Would you like to see Peppers rushing from inside more often?
Arkush: Yes, I think he makes a huge impact when he steps inside to the three-technique, but the problem is the Bears have no one else at defensive end. That's why they just signed Chauncey Davis, but it's unlikely he can step right in and make a difference after being a journeyman the last few years. If Corey Wootton wasn't such a disappointment or the Bears hadn't wasted picks on guys like Gaines Adams (I know he died tragically, but the trade was a joke before the tragedy), Dan Bazuin, etc., the defense would be in a lot better shape.
5. What is your assessment of D.J. Moore's performance this season?
Arkush: He seems to always be in the right place at the right time. He's not all that effective when asked to lock up with a receiver in man coverage, but allowed to roam in the zone, cover-2 or cover-3, he does seem to have a knack for the ball. He's also a very effective blitzer and the Bears don't have many of those. Moore is the prototypical nickel corner. You should never project him to be a starting corner, as he'd be a liability there, but he's almost perfect for the nickel back spot.
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