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Recent posts by Dan Parr
PFW associate editor Dan Parr gives his stock analysis of the Bears and identifies who, or what, is on the rise or decline following their Week 12 loss to the Raiders.
Red-zone defense — The Bears had not been allowing teams to make many trips into the red zone during their winning streak, but Caleb Hanie's three turnovers put the Bears' defense in some difficult situations Sunday. The Raiders had great field position throughout the game, but they were forced to settle for field goals over and over again against a stout Bears defense. Oakland was in the red zone five different times but managed to score only one touchdown in the game. Tight red-zone defense kept the Raiders from pulling away and gave the Bears a chance to win.
Johnny Knox — He had some drops and slips Sunday, but Knox has become more of a factor on offense in the last couple of weeks. He scored a touchdown for a second straight game after going the first nine games of the season without a TD, and he also had a career-high 145 yards receiving against the Raiders. Knox was targeted 10 times by Hanie. He went weeks without being targeted that many times earlier in the season. Knox needs to become more consistent if he's ever going to be a truly effective receiver, but he's shown his ability more often of late.
Marion Barber — We haven't been able to say this many times over the past four seasons, but Matt Forté wasn't the Bears' leading rusher Sunday. Barber rushed for a team-high and season-best 63 yards on 10 carries. He's running with a purpose and looks ready to be a major factor in the backfield down the stretch.
Caleb Hanie as "game manager" — The "game manager" title doesn't really fit for Hanie, but that's often the label that gets attached to backup quarterbacks. He showed Sunday that he can be more than that. He can make big plays, using his arm and his legs (he gained 50 yards on five carries), but he can also set the Bears back with some really bad decisions. Hanie has to be more decisive in the pocket and use better judgment to avoid costly turnovers.
Mike Martz — Hanie's mistakes weren't Martz's fault, but the offensive coordinator also needs to do a better job to help Hanie be more effective and stay out of trouble. The screen play late in the second quarter that resulted in a Raiders interception was doomed from the start and resulted in a six-point swing, taking a potential chip-shot field-goal attempt away from Robbie Gould as the Raiders converted the pick into a field goal. Also, it would have made sense for Martz to wear out his running backs a bit more with Hanie making his first career start. The Bears had 27 rushing attempts, which was the fewest they have had in a game since the last time they lost (Week Five at Detroit).
Devin Hester's role on offense — He's still a great returner (although the Raiders did a good job against him Sunday), but with Johnny Knox getting more involved and Earl Benentt returning from injury, Hester has gone the way of Dane Sanzenbacher in recent weeks. He hasn't been targeted with a pass since Week Nine and has only one catch for 12 yards since the Bears' Week Eight bye.