This week I was given the pleasure of interviewing the guys over at BearGogglesOn.com, a blog that covers the Chicago Bears. We asked them a variety of questions and got some great responses. I’d like to thank them for working with us on this and make sure you check out their site. Also, we answered some questions for them which you can check out here. The transcript is below:
BirdsFan.com: The Bears are coming off much more rest than the Eagles since they were flexed to a Thursday game last week. Do you see this as an advantage or disadvantage?
BearGoggglesOn.com: I don’t think the extra days off are going to hurt. The Bears certainly needed the extra rest after a painful trip out to San Fran.
BF: What potential matchup could be the biggest for the Bears?
BGO: It’s been boom or bust (more bust than boom of late) with Jay Cutler. For better or worse, he’s our most talented offensive player. If JC can produce more touchdowns than interceptions, I think the Bears can hang with the Eagles.
BF: What potential matchup could the Bears struggle with?
BGO: I think DeSean Jackson vs the Bears secondary is the scariest matchup. He’s emerged as a big play threat and the Bears will need to keep his big plays to a minimum if they stand a chance.
BF: From the perspective of a Bears fan, what do you think the biggest problem is that the Eagles have?
BGO: The Eagles seem to be struggling with their running game, just like the Bears. Didn’t Donovan chuck it up like 55 times last week in a losing effort to the Chargers? Without Westbrook, I think the Eagles could continue to struggle on the ground. If the Bears can make the Eagles one-dimensional, they’ve got a chance.
BF: Jay Cutler has been incredibly inconsistent this year, what can you attribute that to?
BGO: I think there are many reasons why Jay hasn’t lived up to the lofty expectations that followed him to Chicago. I personally blame Steve Bartman, but others would attribute his struggles with a lack of talent around him. When cornerback/return specialist Devin Hester is your #1 wide receiver, that’s a problem. When Jay is running for his life because big, angry men from the other team want to turn him into a pretzel and our not-so-angry big men can’t keep them away, that’s a problem.
BF: Matt Forte was a big surprise last year and made us think he was one of the top backs in the league. This season, he has only had a 100+ yard game once. Why is he struggling and do you think he’ll turn it around for the rest of the season?
BGO: Remember what I just said about our not-so-angry big men, commonly known as an offensive line on most teams? Well, Matt Forte won’t be sending them any Christmas cards any time soon. The O-line has struggled and it’s definitely hurt the running game.
The Bears showed some nifty screen passes last week to get Forte involved in the offense. I hope to see more of that against to Eagles.
BF: The Bears have always been a team that thrived on their defense. I don’t think that is as true this year. How much of that can be attributed to the loss of Brian Urlacher, the Bears defensive leader?
BGO: Losing Urlacher certainly hurt, especially his leadership on the field. Urlacher’s speed to cover the deep middle is a key to effectively running the Bears signature Cover-2 defense.
Besides Urlacher, the Bears still haven’t gotten the same push up the middle from Tommie Harris for the better part of the season. If Harris can put together another game like he did against the 49ers, it could be trouble for the Eagles.
BF: Devin Hester was converted from a return specialist into a starting wide receiver. Have you been happy with his performance and does he have what it takes to be a number one wide out in the NFL?
BGO: I think it was a big mistake to take Devin off returns. Like taking a paintbrush out of Picasso’s hand. I think that for where Devin is on his wide receiver track, he is doing pretty well. That said, I just don’t see “it” when he’s running routes. He is serviceable, but not elite.
BF: With a 4-5 record and two games remaining with the Vikings, it looks highly unlikely that the Bears can make any type of playoff run. Do you agree? And what do you think a big focus will be in the offseason?
BGO: At 4-5, the Bears are still technically “in the hunt” but anyone with a working pair of eyeballs can see this is not a playoff team. They are too inconsistent to be taken seriously. But as they say, “any given Sunday.” A key injury here, a couple of lucky breaks there and you could go on a run.
As far as the offseason goes, they clearly have to re-vamp the offense to build it around Cutler. They’ll need to add a couple of linemen and a legit #1 wide receiver. Any chance the Eagles want to part with DeSean? I think the Bears will be players for either Anquan Boldin or Brandon Marshall. Don’t be surprised if Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner gets canned. He’ll be the fall guy for what went wrong this season.
BF: What is your prediction for the outcome of Sunday’s game?
BGO: It’s going to be a tough one for the Bears. I heard a stat on the radio today that the Eagles are 1-8-1 in games decided by 8 points or less, so if the Bears can keep it close, they could get the Eagles to falter. I’m not counting on that, though. Eagles 34-21.