This weekend’s six-pack:
1. As I am always the cautious, conservative, worrisome Bears fan, the main thing I want to say about Sunday’s visit to Jacksonville is to beware. Certainly the Bears should win this game convincingly. But all anyone had to do was watch the 4-0 Arizona Cardinals lose to the 2-2 St. Louis Rams to see that upsets happen. While watching a bit of the game, I recalled the undefeated Bears’ trip to Arizona in 2006 and how perilously close the Bears came to letting Rex Grossman blow that game. And then their first stunning loss to the 6-10 Miami Dolphins two weeks later. So the Bears must stay on their game and finish the games they’re supposed to win, maintaining the blessing of the one-game lead over the Packers.
2. I don’t know that anyone on the Jaguars scares me other than running back Maurice Jones-Drew. But it’s obvious that I have confidence in the Bears defense by virtue of me benching the top-flight Jones-Drew on my fantasy team this weekend.
3. I was pretty high on quarterback Blaine Gabbert when he entered the 2011 draft. It surprised me when Tennessee selected Jake Locker ahead of Gabbert, who was said to have greater physical talent. While Locker looked good in 2012 prior to a shoulder injury, Gabbert has struggled (no thanks to problems on the Jaguar offensive line). I remember that Gabbert was heavily tutored prior to the draft by former washout Bears offensive coordinator Terry Shea. Lot of good that did him.
4. The play of the Bears’ safeties has been a pleasantly surprising to me this year. KNOCK ON WOOD, but to me it’s been notable that Major Wright has stayed healthy for four games. Not to mention Chris Conte, who also is prone to injury. The Bears’ defense must continue to have strong, solid play from Wright and Conte to continue to thrive. The Tribune writes about this today.
5. Still loving the fact that the Bear defense, thought by many to be over the hill and the weak link of the team in 2012, is dominating opponents. Including the vaunted Packers, who beat the Bears due to our offensive incompetence rather than anything the defense did. Currently the Bear defense ranks third in the NFL against the run, 18th against the pass, 12th overall and fifth in points allowed. Considering the five interceptions thrown in Green Bay and a touchdown allowed to the Indianapolis defense, the Bears could easily have allowed fewer than the Texans with a league-leading 56 to the Bears’ 68.
6. Nice work Tim Jennings, who has me very excited by his play. Jennings was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for September.