Jonathan Carroll, a Chicago Bears blogger at Bears Headquarters, was gracious enough to answer the same questions I posed to Mike Burzawa of Bear Goggles On in our chat posted yesterday. I answered some of Jonathan’s questions to complete the favor, you can read them on his site.
Zac Snyder: The Bears have exceeded expectations so far this season. Do you think their season would be going much differently if Calvin Johnson had “completed the process” and started the Bears off 0-1?
Jonathan Carroll: Great question. The Chicago Bears still have losses over bad teams like Washington and Seattle. Like a bottle of wine, the Chicago Bears have gotten better. I think that there has been an adjustment period with this team, so the team you saw the first week is different now. The Chicago Bears deserved to lose, but good teams need to catch breaks. Remember, even if the catch counted, there was time left and the Chicago Bears had time outs.
ZS: What is different about the Bears now compared to when the Lions saw them in week one?
JC: The coaches have done a great job. There are some strong coaches on this staff, and Lovie Smith has let them do their jobs. Despite his record in Detroit, Rod Marinelli is a great defensive mind and the results are beginning to show. Another former Lion coach Mike Martz took a few games to figure things out, but the offense is playing well enough to complement the defense. Plus, welcome back Devin Hester. The special teams are a strong unit too, and its easy to look past the importance of the unit. This team is good, and it took some time to gel.
ZS: How disappointed would Bears fans be if they fail to make the playoffs after this great start? What is the biggest roadblock to them actually securing a playoff spot?
JC: People in Chicago and nationally doubt the Bears. There are “experts” that still think they won’t make the playoffs. The biggest roadblock is the schedule. After the Lions, they have the Patriots, Jets Vikings and Packers remaining…all potential losses.
ZS: Has Lovie Smith’s seat cooled off at all?
JC: There’s this thing called the Mike Ditka Effect. People want a coach that yells and screams. Ditka was overrated as a coach and lost control of his teams. Lovie can be standoffish and arrogant with the press and it rubs people the wrong way. He’s terrible with challenges and its his one weakness. But, people forget that Julius Peppers came here because of Smith. His players love him as a coach. I think fans will never love him, but they’re learning to accept him.
ZS: Give me your game prediction.
JC: This will be a blood bath. Chicago 24 Lions 0. I just don’t know how you’ll get points.