Over the course the 2010 season we have met a various bloggers for other NFL teams, but really only one we have built somewhat of a relationship with, even if it is out of a combination of mutual hatred and respect. Jonathan Carroll of Bears Headquarters joined us earlier in the year for our weekly Q&A and ever since we have had some nice conversations over Twitter and email since. Rumor has it he is going to his first ever game at Lambeau this weekend and hopefully the outcome is less than enjoyable for him (sorry, buddy). Then again the Bears have won the division already and have a first-round bye, so who am I to talk smack?
Anyways, here are Jonathan’s answers.
1) Lovie Smith has said he plans on playing his starters the full game Sunday. Unless Carolina beats Atlanta for probably the upset of the year earlier in the day, is this such a good idea against a team that needs to win at all costs?
Lovie is giving the politically correct answer. I’m sure he’ll let the status game dictate what he chooses to do. On the one hand, he’s made it clear that he wants to beat Green Bay. His record proves it against the Packers. His first press conference when he was hired basically said as much. On the other hand, he’s got to see the bigger picture. My guess is that he’ll play most of his starters and ease them out. Two weeks off is a long time, and this team has work to do.
Now an even more interesting question becomes what if the Packers clinch and the Bears have a shot at the one seed. What do the Packers do?
2) Peppers, Urlacher and Briggs are all Pro-Bowlers to no one’s surprise, but who is this the MVP of the defense this year for the Bears?
Wow, great question. I’ll say Peppers because he’s the obvious answer. However, Urlacher is the leader of the defense. Despite the numbers put up by Clay Matthews, I really think these two are more valuable.
3) The NFC is pretty wide open with all of the playoff teams, sans the NFC West toilet bowl champion, having the talent to reach to the Super Bowl, so what areas do the Bears need to improve on in the next month in order to play in Dallas?
The Chicago Bears offensive line has been playing well, I would like to see that continue. The other area are the safeties. They miss too many tackles in the box. This team has been playing solid football and showed some offensive punch against a good Jets defense.
4) Cutler has cut his turnovers in roughly half from last season, what do you think have been the biggest reasons for this?
He’s a heck of a quarterback that needed time to get comfortable. Think of it this way, Aaron Rodgers had time to develop as a quarterback, Cutler didn’t. He was thrown to the wolves last season. Now with a real offensive coordinator and an improving line, he’s showing his talent. Plus, the Bears have committed to running the damn football. That helps too.
5) The last time the Packers and Bears met was way back in Week 3, what has impressed you the most about the Packer since and do you expect Sunday’s game to be different this time around?
Sunday’s game, unless about three things earlier happen, will be a tough game to use as any sort of measuring stick. I know your readers aren’t going to like this answer, but the Packers are a Jekyll and Hyde team. Losing to the Lions was beyond inexcusable. I’ve heard the excuses, but a championship team has to win that game. I was impressed in the Patriots game, but the Patriots made the two plays they needed to in order to win. Obviously the Giants game was impressive. I think the Packers’ defense is overrated. Aaron Rodgers is a stud. He’s got good receivers and a fair offensive line. I’m sure I’ll hear from your readers, but I’m being honest. The Packers have to get a lot better before I’ll crown them. By the way, for the record, I’m not sure if the Bears are that complete team either. But, I think the Bears’ record certainly shows they’re a good football team.
Thanks again to Jonathan for joining us again this week. We answered some questions for his site, so make sure you check it out this week and you can also follow him on Twitter at bearshq. Have a great and safe New Year’s holiday and hopefully this isn’t the last weekly Q&A for the season!