Coming off a string of blowout wins and sitting atop the NFC North, the Chicago Bears have had plenty of reasons for enthusiasm during their bye week. Of course, no team is perfect, and Lovie Smith’s squad definitely has some things it can work on during the extra practice time.
These three facets of Chicago’s game have the most room for improvement in the run-up to next Monday’s showdown with division rival Detroit:
1. Protect Jay Cutler
Chicago isn’t allowing as many sacks as it did a season ago, but that’s hardly a high bar to set. Jay Cutler is still being dropped nearly three times per game, and any improvement in that stat will go directly into improving the Bears’ iffy passing yardage numbers (223 per game, 22nd in the league).
Cutting down on the hits Cutler takes will only be part of the story if Chicago improves its offensive line play. False-start penalties (especially by gun-shy left tackle J’Marcus Webb) have hamstrung many a Chicago drive this season, and better pass blocking will be the first step toward removing that roadblock.
2. Get the secondary receivers involved in the offense