Had some questions pile up in the mailbox the last few days, so let's bat out a couple questions before getting the day started. Here we go.
Q: So much for the great Gaines Adams trade. Can we write him off as a bust, or is it too early? What gives. I thought he was an instant upgrade for the incredibly disappearing pass rush?
Jerome I., Chicago
A: No one promised a bang when Adams arrived three weeks ago for a second-round draft pick. He's been used sparingly vs. Cincinnati and Cleveland, and even was in on punt return against the Browns. He's still working to get acclimated to the system, the team, the coaches. Granted, the pass rush hasn't been nearly what it should be over the last few weeks, but Adams is the last person you can blame for that. The trade for him was made with the long range in mind and I'm going to keep an open mind on it. I think it was good value for a guy that scouts and coaches from other organizations said was a good pass rusher. Like I said at the time of the deal, Adams doesn't have to justify his status as the fourth pick in the 2007 draft to the Bears. He has to provided second-round value for them. I'm pretty sure he can do that. Until he gets into a steady rotation, the Bears need to count on a better pass rush from those players on the field. Adams has been a pro and isn't clamoring for playing time. Let's give this one a little time. Plus, I think he needs to hit the weight room.
Q: All of the articles about scaling back the offense have been hilarious. How can they scale back something that is already scaled back? The only way is to run the ball, they can't run. Most people are calling for Ron Turner to open it up more, spread the field, get the defenses to back off a bit. The line can't pass protect, might as well utilize 3-4 receiver sets and let Cutler hit the open man. The underneath routes will be open with a couple more receivers on the field. I'm glad Turner refused. He should have said, how?
David T., Stanfield, N.C.
A: Seems that Turner came to the same conclusion you did, at least about whether or not the offense needed to be scaled back. The Bears are now ranked 26th in the league in rushing, two spots below where they finished last season. Everyone thought that Matt Forte's rookie franchise record signaled a real, strong running game, but the fact is the numbers didn't add up when you looked around the league because almost no one else carried the ball last season. I disagree about the pass protection. The Bears had 11 sacks through the first six games, which is less than two per game. They surrendered four vs. Cleveland but I'd say three of those could have been avoided had Cutler gotten rid of the ball. Has the pass protection been terrific? No. Good? No. Adequate? Very much so. Fifteen teams have allowed more sacks than the Bears. Turner can do more, and Cutler sure beamed about the idea of some bootlegs and things of that nature. As far as three- and four-wide sets, 137 of Cutler's 239 pass attempts have come with three and four wide receivers on the field. The Bears need to play better and Turner needs to call better games. We'll see what happens Sunday. Something isn't right, and the running game ranking where it did last season, or where it is now simply isn't acceptable.
Q: Jerry Angelo said the Bears are not signing a player to replace Pisa Tinoisamoa unless they see someone that will be active for them during games. Is this just a ploy to save money? Seriously.
Raul F., Chicago
A: It goes to show you NFL rosters aren't as deep as 53 men, that's what it tells you. I understand Angelo's point here. The Bears have not identified a player on their own practice squad, or elsewhere, who can come in right now and help the 45-man roster on Sundays. Instead of filling Tinoisamoa'a spot with a body, anyone, the Bears are waiting to see what type of need they may have develop. Say, for instance, fullback Jason McKie gets banged up and stands to miss a game or two. The Bears are carrying just one fullback on the 53-man roster. This would allow them to swap out Tinoisamoa for practice squadder Will Ta'ufo'ou, or sign a veteran. As far as money, yes this saves the Bears money. Using the rookie pay of $310,000, the Bears save roughly $18,235 per week. I would expect the roster spot to be filled by the end of the season. Remember, too, they can't pluck someone off another team's practice squad for this spot without having to keep him on the 53-man roster for at least three weeks. That's not a move they want to make because they could have a need arise at a different position. Hope that makes sense.
Q: Any chance the Bears take a look at Edgerrin James to help complement Matt Forte who is clearly not healthy?
Greg B., Indiana
A: No. James isn't much different than the player Brian Urlacher kept tackling in the fourth quarter at Arizona in 2006 when the Bears rallied for a victory with three return touchdowns, one of them a James' fumble forced by Urlacher and returned for a touchdown by Charles Tillman. No tread left on the tires there.
Thanks for reading and thanks as always for the participation.