Fred Mitchell answers e-mail

SportsFootballChicago BearsNFLMarty BookerDez WhiteAtlanta Falcons

Q The Bears are not going anywhere with Jim Miller at quarterback. Even when they were 13-3 last season, it was clear teams such as the Eagles with Donovan McNabb and the Packers with Brett Favre had a distinct advantage. When will the Bears wise up and make a permanent change?

A Veteran Chris Chandler, who took the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl a few years ago, is waiting in the wings. Chandler is no Favre or McNabb, but he still has a strong arm and a good grasp of the offense. The backup quarterback always is the most popular player among frustrated fans.

Q I thought the Bears defense was supposed to be their strength. Is it lack of talent or effort this season?

A Bears defenders seem to be feeling sorry for themselves because of the injuries to key players. But every team in the NFL has injuries. With the exception of safety Mike Brown, few defenders have made key plays the past few weekends.

Q John Shoop has been described as the NFL's most conservative offensive coordinator. But he really designed an extravagant play in the second quarter Monday night. Can you describe it?A On fourth down, the Bears lined up with Marty Booker in a quarterback shotgun position. Brian Urlacher lined up as a tailback. The offensive line set up several yards to the left of center Patrick Mannelly. The ball was snapped to Booker, who rolled to his right as an option quarterback. He pitched the ball to Urlacher, whose pass intended for Mannelly fell incomplete. The Bears were hoping to catch the Packers' defense off guard, but the eligible receivers all were covered.

Q Why can't the Bears stop Favre's passing game when they have the talent to do so?A The Bears have not proven to have the talent to stop Favre, who has beaten the Bears 17 of the 21 times hes played them. Favre passed for 271 yards in the first half. The Bears' front line applied very little pressure and defensive coordinator Greg Blache was reluctant to blitz his safeties because Bears cornerbacks cannot cover Green Bay receivers Donald Driver, Terry Glenn or Ahman Green one-on-one. With the injury to Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ted Washington, the Bears have no run-stopper in the middle. The last time Favre lost to the Bears on the road was 1993. The Packers hold a 15-2 advantage in their last 17 meetings.

Q Are there any indications Dez White's hold on the starting job is slipping? Does David Terrell know the No. 2 receiver routes well enough to take over that spot before the Lions game?A Miller was fixated on throwing most of his passes toward Marty Booker in the first half. White did catch one pass for 16 yards in the first half and two others in the third period. The Bears have not deployed Terrell in the wideout position.

Q I think John Shoop tried to open it up a little. Do you think he could have maybe aired it out even more?

A The Bears were fortunate to be down by only 24-14 at the half, considering the Packers' dominance. Green Bay had 327 total yards to the Bears' 85 at the intermission. By running the ball, the Bears tried to keep the ball out of the hands of Favre.

Q Is the A-train slowing down? Or are the Bears that predictable? Opposing teams are consistently playing eight-man fronts.A Until the Bears prove they can pass the ball consistently, Anthony Thomas will be a marked man by opposing defenses. And until Thomas shows he can make the first tackler miss, he will be limited to three yards a carry, or less. Guard Rex Tucker was forced to leave the game with an ankle injury in the third quarter and Mike Gandy replaced him.

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