John Mullin's answers
The Tribune's Bears writer answers readers' questions throughout the football season.
I wonder if the Bears feel differently now on passing up the opportunity to obtain Bledsoe? --Bill Thieben, Kewanee, Ill.
Olin Kreutz and maybe Rex Tucker next year. And it's convenient to think that the price tag for him (a No. 1) would have been worth it, because that's what the cost was after there was basically only the Bills interested. Had the Bears stayed in the bidding, you would be without a couple of No. 1's and probably a second, plus the cap space that he took up. It's easy to say that for a top quarterback, no price is too great, and Bledsoe is a better quarterback than Jim Miller. Judge the deal with more than last weekend as perspective, though.
Was the ground game last year a fluke, and if not, what gives? The O-line doesn't seem to be opening many holes, and when they do, it looks like the A-train never sees them or doesn't get there in time. There was concern in the off-season about Bernard Robertson protecting the QB, but maybe the offense misses Blake Brockermeyer in the running game as well? --Jason Mitchell, Chicago
Buffalo made it their sworn mission that the Bears would not run on them and when an NFL team decides to stop one thing, it can. The failure of the passing game to exploit that was to me the core of the defeat, arguably even more than the defense's problems. That was a Bills team that should have been blistered for 35 points, and the Bears were good enough to keep Miller from being sacked, although he did take a few hits. As far as Robertson, he may be out of the starting job in favor of Marc Colombo, who, in fact, is a better run blocker from his college training. But the pass offense needs to force teams to respect it or Thomas will have his troubles. Teams watch each other to see what works and you can bet the Packers will force the Bears to throw as well.
Is there any sane reason for the Bears continually to play it safe? In the loss to Buffalo, they had time on the clock, very little time, but nonetheless, time, to attempt a couple of sideline passes to get into field-goal position. They chose to take a knee even though the game had not been won. --John Delk, El Paso, Texas
They had no timeouts in those closing seconds and obviously were too far away to try a Hail Mary on a final play. Dick Jauron is extremely calculating and weighs risk vs. reward, and in that case there was great risk (sack/fumble, interception and return into FG range) and a very, very marginal chance of reward. The Bears could have completed a pass upfield into Hail Mary range, but would have needed to get out of bounds immediately when they did, and couldn't have stopped the clock or run another play if they didn't. It was a conservative approach, granted, and what Jauron elected to do was go with the 50-50 odds of winning the toss and getting a winning FG that way rather than a prayer situation with significant downside.
What's the story with Alex Brown? We sure could use a pass rush, and if the guy is as good as he was hyped to be (or says he is), he could be a big contributor. Also, if his work ethic has improved as we are told, why hasn't he seen any action? --Jason Hard, Arlington Heights, Ill.
You saw a lot more of Brown Sunday and will from now on. Brown was victimized on a running play where he missed the back on a looping rush (rookie mistake) but was strong in pass rush and clearly has an arrow pointing up. He appears to have taken the No. 3 end job from Keith McKenzie and has shown a very good work and study ethic, and playing with Phillip Daniels, Bryan Robinson, Keith Traylor and Ted Washington, who are exceptional role models, will only help. Besides, if he doesn't work hard, they'll beat the tar out of him. He's on the rise at this point.
What the prognosis is for Daniels and McQuarters returning for the Green Bay game. I would like to think that if they are reasonably able to strap it up we should see them on the field. --Brandon Volley, Madison, Wis.
You probably saw my Tuesday story that Daniels doesn't think he'll make it back for Green Bay and McQuarters has been saying that he'll be back for Detroit. McQuarters is working after practice on his backpedal and turn but still looks unsure of his legs, not what you can afford against Brett Favre.