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John Mullin's answers

Hi, John. In short, why do the Bears suck this year? It seems like they have lost all their love and drive. Thanks. -- Nitin Sane, Olympia Fields

And they've lost "all" their players (Phillip Daniels, Warrick Holdman, Jim Miller, Bryan Robinson, David Terrell, Ted Washington, others). Any time an NFL team (other than the Bengals) loses five straight, there is more than one reason. They are a running team that can't run, a run-defense team that can't stop the run. Sometimes football is as simple, or as complicated as that. In short.

When is John Shoop going to adjust the offensive game plan, the way defenses have adjusted to his? -- Jason G. Moore, Columbus, Neb.

That's really a question for Shoop. And the Bears do have some numbers to show that they are trying to pass more, change things up, etc. One reality right now is that they simply do not have the quality in the pass game to change radically what they do. Marty Booker at this moment is the only "A" list threat in the passing offense. Dez White can have plays, even games, where he is a factor but he is not a full-fledged playmaker in the offense. Neither is Marcus Robinson, who is not getting the ball the way he once did and would have trouble convincing everyone that he is fully back from his knee surgery even now. Losing David Terrell took a playmaker out of the offense; Terrell could be erratic but he was emerging as a threat and was gaining Jim Miller's confidence, which is a key for the receivers.

While it is still early, how would you rate the Bear's draft? -- Fred Davis, Plymouth, Wis.

Because there are not a lot of so-called skill-position players to evaluate, it's a little harder to rate a draft at least statistically. And this was a 13-3 team drafting 29th, without huge, gaping holes to fill for the most part (that was before the injuries), so the chances of impact draft picks was a lot less than after the '97-'00 seasons, when the Bears went into draft day with a top-10 pick.

But Marc Colombo is starting and so far has handled himself adequately at a position that usually requires two full seasons before a player starts to really perform. Third-rounders Roosevelt Williams and Terrence Metcalf have been non-factors. Williams was hurt in training camp and was left behind. Keep an eye on him now, however — He is getting closer to winning the No. 3 cornerback spot he had a chance at before his injury. Metcalf is an offensive lineman at a position (guard) where the Bears were solid before this season, so his impact is still a year or more away. Alex Brown is emerging as perhaps the plum of the draft, a pass rusher with some developing ability to play every down. He has answered a lot of doubters about his college intensity. Bryan Knight also came into a position group (linebacker) that was stacked, so his chances have been limited. The same is true with running back Adrian Peterson.

I really do think it's too early to form a clear sense of this draft. By way of illustration, the '99 draft had McNown at the top, followed by Russell Davis, which both looked like busts. Behind them, though, were Marty Booker, Warrick Holdman, Rosevelt Colvin and Rex Tucker. At this point in their rookie seasons, they had not had any impact whatsoever.

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