Many thanks to Dane Noble over at our Chicago Bears blog, Windy City Gridiron, for answering my Chiefs-Bears questions. Be sure to check out WCG to get caught up on the Bears before Sunday's game. And also be on the look out for my answers to Dane's questions (especially the one about whether I would trade Alex Smith for Jay Cutler).
1. Is Jay Cutler a good quarterback?
WCG: I think he is. Jay Cutler is smarter than most quarterbacks, and processes information incredibly quickly. Every offensive coordinator that's ever worked with him calls him the smartest guy they've ever seen. When you combine that with his athleticism, toughness, and rocket arm, you've got yourself a pretty damn good QB. His downside is of course the turnovers. And I think the turnovers simply come because he is so competitive and knows he can make throws that many can't-- and that leads to him trying to make something happen in moments when he shouldn't. He's got great instincts and wants to make a play every single time, which we know sometimes you just have to throw the ball away.
I like Cutler. When he's hot, he's real hot and can be one of the best in the league. But when he gets rattled, he can be one of the worst.
2. What is the No. 1 strength and No .1 weakness of the Bears?
WCG: The Bears seem to be evolving every week, and the team we saw last week was not the team we saw the week before. The most consistent aspect is the running game. Matt Forte is having an exceptional season, and if he stays healthy, he could be headed for All-Pro honors. The Bears have two guys behind him that they really like as well-- Jeremy Langford and Jacquizz Rodgers-- and they will both get some reps throughout the season when Forte needs a breather.
The biggest weakness is lack of depth in 80 percent of their roster. Former GM Phil Emery really dug a deep hole, but new GM Ryan Pace is trying his damnedest to patch things up. The defensive line is thin, but having Jeremiah Ratliff back will be game-changing for the Bears. He's back from his three-game suspension for a DUI in 2013, but sat last week with an ankle injury sustained during the preseason. But there is still a lack of depth at DL, as well as the OL, WR corps, DL and QB.
3. The Chiefs o-line has had its issues. Will the Bears pass rush get after them?
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WCG: Having the aforementioned Ratliff back will help disrupt the inside, and we're seeing a much-improved push from the edge by Pernell McPhee. Lamarr Houston and Willie Young will also get their shot, so if the Chiefs are having some issues, the Bears defense may be able to cause some problems. This is a stark difference for the Bears from their first two or three games, when quarterbacks walked off the field at the end of the game as clean as they started it.
4. The Bears have made a few trades already. Which other players on the Bears roster do you think could be a good trade candidate?
WCG: You know what they say-- everyone has their price. But outside of Willie Young, who asked for a trade earlier in the season (he isn't necessarily fitting that well into the new 3-4 defense, much like Jared Allen), I really don't see anything major happening until the offseason. There's been speculation that Matt Forte could be on the trading block, but I personally just don't see that happening He's having a great year and looks as fresh as ever, but he also turns 30 years old in December. What would the Bears ask for him? I dunno, maybe a third?
5. What's your prediction for the game?
WCG: I think home field advantage will play a major part, and although I've been saying all week the Bears will squeeze out a 23-20 type of win, I also realize that's a huge stretch. The Chiefs are a better team, and playing at Arrowhead is always tough, but the Bears could be sleepers here. I'll stick with my prediction for a Bears win though. Just my gut this week.