This week’s Friday five:
1. We better enjoy this week’s game, as it’s the only Bears game within a 24-day period (as pointed out by the Chicago Tribune). Since they last played on a Thursday night, then have their bye and don’t play again until Monday night, that’s a remarkably long stretch with only one game. Not sure if that’s close to record territory or not, but definitely odd. Hopefully at least Stephen Paea and Charles Tillman can get healthy.
2. The Jon Bostic era begins in earnest on Sunday after mike backer DJ Williams was lost for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. It’s been a strange journey so far for Bostic. He started all preseason games due to a Williams injury and looked to be the opening-day starter. He then took a seat as Williams did in fact start, and played well. Now he’s the man. Interesting-at least in Lovie Smith’s base defense the middle of the unit was considered to be critical (unlike some other defensive schemes). The three-technique tackle, middle linebacker and safeties are more important as the corners pass everything to the middle of the field. And the pass rush is expected to begin by collapsing the pocket from inside. Now the 2013 Chicago Bears have lost two of their three-technique tackles, their middle linebacker, and their safeties have always been inconsistent. Let’s hope for no more injuries.
3. Jay Cutler is on a record pace, at least as Bears quarterbacks have gone. Should he keep up his current averages, he’ll throw for 4,346 yards and 32 touchdowns, smashing Erik Kramer‘s records set in 1995. He’s also just 800 yards behind Sid Luckman on the Bears’ all-time passing yardage list, so barring injury this year he will become the Bears’ all-time leader in yardage. Luckman has remained the Bears’ leader for 64 seasons!
4. Recent Bears-Redskins history: So much to discuss, so little time and space. The Bears have lost four games in a row to the Redskins, going back to the 2005 opener when Kyle Orton started his first game as a rookie. The Bears won the prior two before that, then had lost the previous six between 1989 and 1999. The 80′s were an exciting time between the clubs when Mike Ditka dueled Joe Gibbs. Chicago’s 1984 playoff win in Washington propelled the Bears to the NFC Championship game, then the Bears rolled over the Redskins 45-10 in the famous 1985 championship season. And who could forget Washington knocking the Bears out of the playoffs in ’86 and ’87, ending their hopes of a dynasty. Finally, I cover the biggest blowout in NFL history, the 73-0 Bears NFL Championship win in 1940 in Washington, in my Chicago Bears History presentation.
5. My verdict: I don’t announce my picks with fanfare. But I’ll say the Bears are about where I thought and hoped they would be so far. I didn’t have confidence that they would beat Detroit or New Orleans. I do think they should win at Washington, as long as the offense limits turnovers and scores points against the porous Redskin defense.