Well, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful performance of the team against Denver. A strong running game and a spirited defensive performance coupled with a nice advantage in turnovers resulted in the first win of the season. Although wins/losses is not a big deal this year, this was huge. Hopefully, it is a confidence builder.
Now, onto the review. Going into the season, I was not too concerned with wins/losses, but I wanted to see a lot of growth going into 2009. The Carl/Herm show was deemed safe until then. The fly in the ointment was the early season schedule. After the Pats, the next three games were all winnable. I was concerned that we would be 2-2 or even 3-1 and I would be writing articles saying we were not as good as our record. Well, that just didn’t come to pass.
After four games, I no longer consider Carl/Herm safe for next year. Now I know Carl does not have a contract for next year, but it is still early. The reason is the horrible performance against the Falcons and the Raiders. When your team looks like it does not belong on the same field with two low rung teams, it sends out alarm bells. The performance against Denver has helped quite a bit, but the facts are the facts. Continued growth is needed to secure the current regime. That means everyone, even Bill Kuharich, who I give most of the credit to for our improved drafting.
Right now, we are five players short of being a good playoff team. The positions are QB, RG, RT, Rush DE and MLB. We need three solid players and two pro-bowl level players out of these five positions. Some of the answers may already be on the roster. Let’s go through them and see where we stand.
QB: This is still the biggest question on the team. Unfortunately, Brodie got hurt again. When he is healthy, he has to start. We need to find out if he will be our franchise QB. He has all the tools and has progressed well. However, he has to stay healthy. Damon showed last week that he is a solid backup QB. However, he is not the future. Thigpen has shown that he is not ready for the NFL. Will he ever be ready?
RG: This is a hard one to evaluate without the game films. Is Adrian Jones the answer? Right now, I do not know.
RT: D-Mac may be at the end of his career and Barry Richardson hasn’t been active yet. Is Herb Taylor the answer? I would love to find out. Albert’s injury has lessened the growing calls for Herb at RT.
Rush DE: Tamba Hali has been unimpressive so far. If he can’t turn it up and if Johnston doesn’t develop, we could be looking here early in the draft.
MLB: Right now, Pat Thomas does not look like a good MLB and Nap Harris is appearing on milk cartons. This could be a major consideration early in next years draft.
RG and RT generally are not first round needs. I would love to be able to look at drafting someone like Rey Maualuga in the first round. His speed, strength, aggression and mean streak would look really good in red and gold. However, depending on what happens with QB and rush DE, we may have other needs to fill.
Brandon Carr should start the rest of the season. He has looked good and we are gaining nothing by sitting him.
Nick Novak has the kicker job, but it’s not a firm grip.
Whoever found Eric Walden deserves a prize. That man is a beast on special teams.
Mike Cox looks to have solidified the FB job.
My fears about riding Marion Barber came to pass as the Bears got smacked around by the revolving door that is the Bobblehead roster. Good job, Lobo