Each week until the end of the season, Bears Insider John 'Moon' Mullin will be answering questions from fans. Submit your questions on Twitter and check back on CSNChicago.com to see if your question gets a response.
Here are this week's questions:
Moon - What will the Bears do when Marshall is taken away by other team's defenses?
Two thoughts here. One is that Marshall doesn't get completely taken away very often. That's why he's had five straight 1,000-yard seasons and no fewer than 81 catches in those years, when he was the focus of defenses. The second is that it's impossible to take away ALL weapons in a good offense (unless you are rushing with the Steel Curtain). The Bears' most consistent receiving threat the past four years has actually been Matt Forte, and three of those were with Jay Cutler, so No. 6 is more than comfortable going to his franchise back, who is also a good bet to get back on top of 1,000 rushing yards. The drafting of Alshon Jeffery was a statement on top of Marshall as well.
The whole point of this offseason was to diversify as well as upgrade offensive firepower. Someone will shut Marshall down for a time; the Bears finally have more than one arrow in the quiver.
@MattBowen41 Will Marinelli deviate from the traditional Tampa 2? Will this offense expose how easy it is to exploit this scheme?
I'll cover for Matt. The fact is that the Bears were in true Cover-2 about one-third of the time last season. And I was watching practice with Matt and he was noting some specific attack points against the Cover-2. Every defense has pressure points; watch a Green Bay game, opening drive, and you'll more than see.
@CSNMoonMullin What's wrong with Carimi? Break yesterday makes sense. Break today means injury or demotioncompetition?
There's really nothing wrong with 72, more a matter of being supremely sensible about mixing rest with exertion. There is no demotion there, believe me, no is there true 'competition.' There's simply no point in pushing him until there actually is a problem. He's really looked very good, body fat down significantly and better quickness than even last year.
@CSNMoonMullin How does Roach look at mike back?
Roach always look the same there, very solid, and even more so now that he's another year in the system. I talked with Nick at some length about where he is now as the Mike, since it wasn't an instant success '09, for various reasons. He's a different player than he was then and I've always thought that if contract situations are managed smartly, you're looking at the real successor to Brian Urlacher.
From @helen goerne:
will it be Spaeth or Adams who makes roster at TE?
That'll show up in preseason games. Spaeth is more of a blocking force but Adams is a contributor on special teams. This could be a good competition before it's all settled.
How would you rate the DT's?
I've been tracking Stephen Paea through all the offseason and he's looked the best overall, with Henry Melton flashing a lot more than he did last year. The thing I note with Melton is that he went to Texas as a running back, converted to defensive end, and didn't really switch to tackle until spot duty in 2010, with good results. A lot of people are eager to see if Brian Price has anything left in football after his personal losses. Matt Toeaina is a proven plugger. The competition with Price, John McCargo and DeMario Pressley is ongoing and you'll know what I know based on watching the preseason games and who plays first and most.
Overall does this look as good as the 2011 defense?
Until the shots are thrown in anger, pretty hard to evaluate. The emergence of Stephen Paea is an upgrade at defensive tackle, which is significant, and investing a No. 1 draft choice on a pass rusher makes that area better, on paper. The Bears did not take steps backwards on defense other than adding a year to their vets' ages, but right now I would rate 2012's D ahead of 2011's.