Thursday, 21 September 2006

Interview with a Bears Fan

Like way back in the day (read: 2 months ago) when I interviewed a Tigers fan and vice versa, I am back at it, this time with The Zoner from Zoner Sports, who happens to be a Bears fan versus my being a Vikings fan, which made this a natural match.

Me: The question on everyone's (or at least every fantasy player's) mind - is Rex Grossman for real? He's had a great first 2 games, can he keep it up consistently? What's the difference so far this year for him?

Zoner Sports: I heard a commentator say recently that here in Chicago we tend to be so reactionary. He’s right. Before the last preseason game there was plenty of Brian Griese talk. Rex had a terrible preseason until then. Now he’s the next Peyton Manning.

But I think most Bears fans have thought Rex could be a good pro if he could get the experience and stay healthy. Last week bore that out a bit. And that’s the difference so far—health and comfort factor, as well as Ron Turner calling great games. Don’t expect 35 TD passes, but these certainly aren’t your father’s Bears.

Me: What exactly is going on with the running back situation? Are Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson just splitting carries? What do you think should happen there?

Zoner Sports: Lovie Smith has made it his practice to always play the player that the staff thinks is the better player. He did again this week by naming Danieal Manning the starter and moving Chris Harris to nickel back. Eventually, Benson will assume the load for the Bears. When that will happen is anyone’s guess. If Benson can break some long runs I wouldn’t be surprised to see it sooner rather than later. Jones will not be a Bear next year.
But for now TJ is the starter and that’s how it should be. Most teams now use 2 backs to some extent and it can work.

Me: What is the Bears biggest weakness?

Zoner Sports: Right now hardly anything. But I would say the one thing I’d like to see on Sunday is the Bears stopping the run. Ahman Green ran for 110 in Week 1 after being out for a long time. If Chester Taylor has a good game, teams will say that’s the way to attack the Bears D—to run right at them.

Me: What is your prediction for Sunday's game? Can the Vikings score on the Bears defense?

Zoner Sports: The Vikings have beat 2 teams that a lot of people thought would be in the postseason. I don’t think nationally they are getting many props just yet. The Bears have been amazing, but they played Detroit and the Pack. This is a great ‘shake out’ game for both teams. I hope it’s Bears domination, but a safer prediction is Bears 20, Vikings 13.

Me: Assuming Rex Grossman is for real, do the Vikings realistically have any chance in the division? Bears have the best defense in the NFL, and if the offense is even average, is there a chance for anyone else to win the division?

Zoner Sports: I look it at like this: If the Bears could go 11-5 last year with basically no passing game, what will they do with a healthy Rex and an additional RB in Benson, who was hurt for a lot of last year? If Rex and the offense keep playing like they have, it won’t just be the North—the entire NFC won’t have a chance.

Also, remember to check out his blog for my answers to his questions about the Vikings! Should be a great game Sunday between 2 hard-nosed defenses.