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What We Learned and What We Don’t know After Big Win

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We still have a few hours to celebrate the big “W” over the defending champs before we turn our focus to the Seahawks. So adhering to most teams’ 24-hour “get over it” rule, here are a few closing thoughts on the game yesterday…

3 things we learned:

1. Johnny Knox “is no longer a rookie.” Those are Cutler’s words, not mine. Suddenly, the no-name WR corps is garnering some positive press. Cutler turned rookie Eddie Royal into a 90-catch machine in Denver last year and if nothing else, he’s making defenses respect Knox…and not just as a deep threat. Maybe it is the QB who makes the WR after all…

2. The Bears have the best collection of tight ends in the league. With Clark out, Kellen Davis stepped in beautifully and showed good hands (except of course for that drop). I never questioned Greg Olsen’s toughness in the first place, but if there was any doubt, he answered the bell shortly after getting his rung by Carter on that vicious sideline play.

3. The new look secondary is still a work in progress. The Payne-Manning-Bowman-Tillman quadruplets didn’t give up the big play. I know they’re still gelling as a unit since 3 of the 4 missed most or all of the pre-season, but there were a lot of Steelers running wide open across the middle of the field. I love the potential of the nickel package with Payne and Alfalava at safeties, Manning at nickelback (where he has a year of experience), along with Bowman and Tillman at the corners. The “Lava-man” brings a nasty attitude and is all over the field (does anybody else still think of Ricky Manning every time they see that number 24?”)

3 things we still don’t know:

1. How ‘bout that running game? Through 2 games, Forte’s averaging a paltry 2.2 yards per carry. But don’t fret (unless you have him on your fantasy team) – what’s more is important is the number of carries he’s getting. Even if not successful, committing to the run game keeps opposing defenses honest and makes them think about bringing an extra man in the box. You gotta believe it’s only a matter of time before Cutler and Hester make a BIG connection in the passing game off some play action.

2. How bad is ‘Bad, Bad Alex Brown’s’ ankle? He was talking tough after the game like he’d be back this Sunday. But if not, Mark Anderson will have to step in (and step up). Could rookie/pool-jumping daredevil Jarron Gilbert get some PT at DE? Not likely. My guess is they’d swing Idonije over to end first.

3. Just how good are these Bears? They lost a close game to Green Bay, who lost to the Cedric Benson-led Bengals AT HOME! We beat the reigning champs, who barely beat the Titans last week…who lost to the Texans at home. Okay, so it’s waaay too early to start comparing scores, especially into today’s parity-driven league. Super Bowl contenders? I’m not going there, but if they can at least get into the show, you never know…


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