Five Bears questions with PFW publisher Hub Arkush

Posted Nov. 23, 2011 @ 11:46 a.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

In this week's edition of "Five questions," PFW publisher/editor and Bears expert Hub Arkush says he still sees the Bears making the playoffs with Jay Cutler out for an extended period and also says if Lance Briggs makes the Pro Bowl, Brian Urlacher and Charles Tillman ought to be there with him.

1. With Jay Cutler not expected back until the end of the regular season, do you still see the Bears making the playoffs?

Arkush: Yes. 10-6 makes the playoffs over 85 percent of the time and will again this season in the NFC, and I can't find three games left on the Bears' schedule, let alone four, that they aren't likely to win with defense and special teams. I can't see them winning a playoff game on the road without Cutler, but they should get there.

2. What changes, if any, do you think need to be made to the offense with Caleb Hanie under center instead of Cutler?

Arkush: The Bears will have to run the ball much better that they have the last few weeks, which will be tougher because defenses will not fear Caleb Hanie, and they'll have to become a lot more effective with one- and three-step drops, quick slants and a lot of fast-developing plays, which aren't usually staples of a Mike Martz offense.

3. Has Lance Briggs had a Pro Bowl-caliber season to this point?

Arkush: He's right on the fringe. Briggs was not in top shape when he got to training camp and started slow. It wasn't really until Week Four or Five that he started to play like Lance Briggs and he's had a couple huge games since, but also a few clunkers like the Chargers game. My guess is he'll make it because it's a beauty contest and once you start going you usually don't get voted out until a couple years after you should, but if he makes it and Brian Urlacher or Charles Tillman don't, that would be a shame and just wrong.

4. Have you noticed any improvement in J'Marcus Webb's play in recent weeks?

Arkush: Not really. He certainly hasn't backslid, but you don't see any real improvement either. Webb has a real problem with both top-end speed rushers and top-end bull rushers, but he's fine against all the average and run-of-the-mill guys. You had to know from Day One that Webb is a long-term project and it's going to take at least another year to know if he can become a difference maker.

5. What's your assessment of Roy Williams' performance thus far?

Arkush: He's a No. 3 receiver who doesn't appear to ever be completely focused or committed to being a big-time playmaker. Williams is not as fast or as explosive as he once was, and he appears to have a real hard time keeping his feet under him. What worries me about Williams is whether or not his teammates enjoy his clown-like presence, or if they find him annoying and a distraction. It's worth keeping an eye on.

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