Given that Earl Bennett has been injured and Roy Williams has been ineffective, I think Olsen could have had an impact on the last two games. Olsen could have provided Cutler with the big, reliable receiving option that the Bears have not had. But that's only if there were plays called for him to catch the ball. His best game with Mike Martz was last September against the Packers--five catches for 64 yards. If he had been around to give the Bears another 64 yards Sunday, who knows how the outcome would have been affected?
I agree with you that there is some legitimacy to the call. Graham gave Jarrett Bush's shoulderpad a little tug. But the disconnect for me is gunners like Bush typically get mugged on every punt. You probably could call holding on virtually every punt if you watch what happens to the gunners. It's rarely called. This penalty had no effect on the play. The flag came out late. Technically, you may say he did something that was illegal, but it still was a bad call in my opinion.
I honestly believed our offense would be much better by now. Was the problem just going against a 3-4 defense? -- JD Sell, from Twitter
No. The Bears offense looked as incompetent against the Saints' 4-3 as they did against the Packers' 3-4. There hasn't been one problem. The problem is the Bears have had breakdowns at every level possible and they haven't been consistent at anything. It's been a Murphy's Law kind of offense.
If I remember correctly, the Bears' first two offensive running plays were delayed handoffs to Matt Forte. Since Green Bay's defensive lineman/linebackers were already across the line of scrimmage by the time Forte received the handoff, both plays went for losses. After that, Martz ran the ball at inopportune times (first-and-15 or third-and-long) and then abandoned the running game. Even when Martz looks like he is going to start off the game with some running plays, he uses a delayed handoff, I'm assuming so that he could try and fool the defense. Why doesn't he just call normal running plays? Sounds like a simple enough question, but apparently it isn't. -- Pete Hasa, Monterey, Calif.
I agree the Bears should call for more downhill running plays. The slow developing plays that have been called have a greater chance of turning into losses of yards.
Having been a Bears fan of 25 years, I'm really looking forward to seeing them in London in a few weeks' time. All I keep hearing is Jay Cutler is an upper-echelon NFL QB but I don't see it. In a 32 team league upper echelon means top-10 and to my mind there are 10 QBs clearly better than him playing now. I'd say he's an average starter (ranked slightly outside the top 10, but probably in top 15). Where do you see him relative to other starting QBs? -- James Gregory, Yorkshire, U.K.
I think it's fair to call him an elite talent but not an elite quarterback. At least not yet. The Bears keep hoping he will develop into that. But as of now he is not as good as a large number of quarterbacks in the league. The problem with Cutler is consistency. There are weeks when he looks like one of the best passers in football, and other weeks when he looks like one of the worst. It's a little difficult to judge him so far this year because of the problems around him. It would be nice to see him operate in an offense that is competent at all the other positions.
What are the chances Earl Bennett makes it into the starting lineup? The Bears really seemed to miss him last Sunday. -- Gregory, from Twitter
The chances are not good of Bennett playing this week, and it will hurt the offense. I'm with you that the Bears really missed Bennett Sunday. And I think they missed him even more the week before against the blitzing Saints defense. He is their best, most consistent receiver.
Recently, Jerry Angelo blamed the Bear's losses to poor execution and inconsistency on the part of the players. That may be partially true, however, perhaps a greater portion of the blame may revert to draft day and not drafting a player who could develop into a speedy go to receiver for Cutler and not drafting a bevy of potentially talented, offensive linemen with the rest of the picks. In addition, I sincerely feel the Bears played two of the top four teams in the NFL and they had a lot to do with the Bears' losses. What do you think? -- Gerald Healy, Rugby, N.D.
The Bears have been underdogs in all three of their games this year, so actually, they have done better than they were supposed to do. Their two losses may have come to the two best teams in the NFL. That being said, the nature of the losses has been disturbing. It's safe to say we still don't know who this team is. I'm not ready to write off the receivers or offensive line yet, either. Remember, Earl Bennett and Roy Williams have missed time at receiver, and Gabe Carimi and Lance Louis have missed time on the line. The offense needs some time to come together.
Can we call Stephen Paea a bust? Three games in and our secnd-round draft pick hasn't even dressed for a game. It's especially maddening to see that two wide receivers selected later in the second round by teams with more talented rosters than the Bears (Ravens and Packers) and those players (Torrey Smith and Randall Cobb) are making immediate contributions to their teams. Should the Bears have selected a wide receiver in the second round instead?-- Sam Athens, Irving, Texas
The only thing we can call Paea at this point is a slow starter. And it's not surprising considering he had a knee injury in January. It's way too early to judge him. Torrey Smith has had one excellent game, but struggled before that. It's too early to judge him, too. Randall Cobb sure looks like he has potential, but we're talking about a player with five career catches for 73 yards. Deep breath, everybody.
Did the Bears know about Carimi's previous knee injury when they drafted him? If they did, why weren't they concerned about it recurring? Since I suffer from the same injury, I know it is very typical that this will happen again.-- Paul K., Chicago
The Bears were aware of Carimi's previous knee dislocation, but were not overly concerned. No one I have spoken with in the NFL thought it was a big problem.
Why haven't the Bears given D.J. Moore a chance to start on the outside? I think Tim Jennings has been adequate, but Moore is much more of a playmaker. After the impact he's made at nickel, I believe D.J. should at least be given the chance to compete on the outside where the money players are. I would then insert Corey Graham at the nickel back position, which hopefully might sway him to re-sign with the Bears after this season. -- Jerry Harris, Los Angeles
I'm not sure D.J. Moore couldn't start at cornerback and play outside. But he really was drafted for the role he's in. What we know about Moore is he is very athletic, very tough and competitive, and he has a knack for making plays. We also know he is 5-9, and he ran a 4.56 in the 40-yard dash at the combine when he came out of Vanderbilt in 2009. He probably plays faster than that, but he is not a burner. You can get away with being short playing outside. You can get away with not being the fastest guy playing outside. But you can't get away with being short and slow. The perception that Moore is short and slow -- right or wrong -- is why he's an inside corner.
Your column said Caleb Hannie receives almost no practice time. This makes no sense. What does he do all week? I am sick of hearing that the non-starters get no reps. Do the bench players on a baseball team not take batting, infield and outfield practice? Don't the bench players on a basketball team practice against the regulars and participate in the pregame warm-up? How do you know what a player can potentially do if you don't let him practice under game conditions? -- Lino Canalia
Hanie makes a lot of throws in practice, working on individual drills with assistant coaches and receivers, participating in skeleton drills and seven-on-sevens. But when it comes to the "team" portion of practice -- which is 11-on-11 -- Hanie takes a seat. He does work the "look" team offense for the Bears' defense, but he's not running the Bears' offense when he does that. The problem is there are only so many team practice reps in a day, and offensive coordinator Mike Martz believes the starting quarterback needs to have all of those reps. Some coaches see it differently, and they give backups more work. But no backup gets more than a handful of reps in a practice.
Where did Julius Peppers go? -- Ken McCarthy, from Twitter
Same place the Bears' running game went.