Well Bob, I’m not sure anyone saw the Bears’ explosion on the Bucs coming, and I’m even more dubious of anyone who says they did. So I think it’s fair to say 3-1 is a bit of a surprise, and the way they blew the Bucs up, I’m hearing smart people around the league saying this Bears team might be a legit contender right now.
Seems to me it’s a bit early for that, but they sure were impressive last Sunday. So what do you think ... through four weeks, are these guys where you thought they’d be, behind schedule or maybe running out ahead?
LEGERE: Matt Nagy’s team is way ahead of where I thought they’d be, Hub, even after they added Khalil Mack to their top-10 defense. I knew Mack was an impact player, but I never imagined he’d have such a profound effect. My enthusiasm for the offense, and for QB Mitch Trubisky in particular, is somewhat tempered by the knowledge that the Tampa defense might be the NFL’s worst.
But you can only play the teams on your schedule, and 3-1 is good enough for first place at the quarter pole. And don’t forget, had the Bears not suffered a full-team collapse in Green Bay, blowing a 20-3 lead in the fourth quarter, they’d be 4-0.
ARKUSH: Yes, it's true, these Bears could very easily be 4-0, but they could also very easily be 1-3, and that's the part too many people are forgetting in their rush to start making plans for football by the lake in January.
I actually did expect the Bears to be 3-1 at the start of the season but not because I thought the offense vs. the Bucs would resemble the Rams’ Greatest Show on Turf from the turn of the century. I just thought the Seahawks were going to be as average as they've been and that the Cardinals and Bucs could be awful. The Bucs’ offense surprised us getting out to 2-1, but last Sunday they were — yes, I'm going there one more time — exactly who I thought they'd be. I'd say that right now the Bears are very close to what I expected, perhaps a little ahead of the curve on defense but right where they should be offensively. I think possibly the bigger question right now is once the Bears are all rested and back at work, will we see the same offense in Miami we saw last week vs. the Bucs?
LEGERE: We’ll see the same offensive scheme, but Sunday’s production was an anomaly. Trubisky could play another 15 years and not have another six-TD game or a 154.6 passer rating. It’s difficult to imagine any NFL defense as bad as the Bucs’ stumbling’ crew, which seemed to be operating with nine players while Bears receivers were running free through their secondary.
But I do believe Trubisky took a huge step in his development, proving to himself and his teammates how explosive this offense can be when everything’s clicking. And he could have another very good game because the Dolphins aren’t much better in most important defensive categories than the Bucs.
The Fins are 30th in both sack percentage and third-down efficiency, and they're 26th in total yards, passing yards and average gain per pass allowed. The big difference is they’re No. 1 in interception percentage, led by CB Xavien Howard’s three. But with two weeks to prepare, you can expect Matt Nagy to dial up some productive plays. And before the Bears head to Miami, Nagy will make it a point to stress to his young team that they haven’t accomplished anything just because of a nice four-game stretch.