1. Will Brown's absence spell doom for the run defense?
The Bears were incredible on defense in Week 1 against a Chargers team that's loaded with playmakers, especially against the run and reigning MVP LaDainian Tomlinson. Holding a player of his caliber to 25 yards on 17 carries just doesn't happen very often, and having Mike Brown back in the starting lineup at safety was a major factor in the D's effectiveness. Danieal Manning, who is a better athlete but not near the all-around football player, will be re-instered into the starting lineup once again with Brown out for the year.
The Bears allowed a total of 410 yards rushing to Frank Gore, Ronnie Brown, and Tiki Barber immediately after Mike Brown got hurt last season, so it will be up to Manning to make up the difference and prevent that dropoff from happening again.
2. When is Benson going to break out on the ground?
There were a lot of Bears fans who weren't happy that the team traded away Thomas Jones in the offseason, and that decision is looking more questionable with each passing week. Jones was moved in order to open the starting spot for Cedric Benson, but Benson did not run the ball very well in the preseason and managed just 42 yards on 19 carries in Week 1. Granted, the Chargers have one of the more talented front sevens in all of football, but Benson simply looked uninspired last Sunday losing a fumble and dropping an easy pass out of the backfield.
The fact that Benson had to fight for every carry last season as Jones' backup may have brought out the best in him, which means it could be time to give Adrian Peterson more carries to light a fire under Benson again.
3. What will the defensive tackle rotation look like?
When GM Jerry Angelo traded for Darwin Walker from Buffalo during training camp, it was assumed that he would be inserted into the starting lineup next to two-time Pro-Bowler Tommie Harris. However, second-year pro Dusty Dvoracek was able to hold off his challenge and kept his name at the top of the depth chart. But, like Brown, Dvoracek ruptured his ACL and will miss the rest of the season on injured reserve.
DT Dusty Dvoracek (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Look for free agent signee Anthony Adams to be the first defensive tackle off the bench now after being inactive in Week 1, plus Antonio Garay was called up from the practice squad recently and could see some action.
4. Is Hester actually going to be a part of the game plan?
One of the biggest stories across the entire NFL during the offseason was Devin Hester being moved from cornerback to wide receiver. Hester was nothing short of sensational as a rookie on special teams, scoring six times on returns and once more on the opening kick of Super Bowl XLI. While many expected him to struggle learning the nuances of the game on offense, he caught the ball beautifully in training camp and made the transition quite smoothly.
However, Hester was only on the field for one offensive snap against the Chargers and almost completely wiped out in the return game, so Ron Turner must find a way to get him involved because he's so gifted with the ball in his hands in open space.
5. Can the Bears make the Chiefs one-dimensional on offense?
Kansas City has been lacking at wide receiver for quite a while now, and they'll be even thinner this week with Eddie Kennison out for the game. He'll be replaced in the starting lineup by Dwayne Bowe, who's going to be a very good player one of these days but will now just be a secondary target to future Hall-of-Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez. Larry Johnson is the kind of running back that can give the Bears fits with his in-your-face style and propensity for breaking tackles, and he should get the ball a lot Sunday after only 10 carries in Week 1 against the Texans.
Quarterback Damon Huard is only holding down the fort until Brodie Croyle is ready to take over, and his lack of options in the passing game will make the Midway Monsters even more anxious to stop the run at all costs.
John Crist is the Editor in Chief of BearReport.com and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.
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