Friday, November 17, 2006

In The Line Of Fire: Muhsin Muhammad

So what did Muhammad ever do to anyone? Nothing, really. Unless you belong to the Bears opposing defense. This isn't necessarily a diatribe to his otherworldly statistics. Instead, it is a paean to his skills, and the drop off behind him.

When he was signed, Muhammad was a significant piece of the puzzle for the Bears offense. Some people are all excited about what he is doing this season. Some people have wondered what took so long. Some terrible offensive coordinating by Ron Turner's predecessors, and inconsistent (at best) quarterbacking have finally, it seems, been put behind him. His numbers are solid, if not spectacular. The question to ask is what would happen if he went down?

The Bears upper management has done a good job at making sure that for the most part they have pretty good depth. Wide Receiver is not the best example of this plan. Remember David Terrell? Now, to be fair, it isn't all Jerry Angelo's fault. Terrell seemed good to a lot of folks coming out of college. Otherwise, it has been injury that has held back some of the receivers. Mark Bradley has looked okay in flashes, but flashes rarely win SuperBowls. Berrian seems to be having a good year, if his ribs can hold together. Justin Gage appears to be the little engine that could fly down field but couldn't hold on to the ball. Together they make a motley assortment of plug-in types who collectively can provide decent 2nd, 3rd, 4th receiver help. The real problem is if Muhammad goes down, which of them would step up? Who could? Unlike a small fantasy league, it isn't like the team just picks up another number one WR off the waiver wire. Barring the immensely rare in-season trade, the answer would have to come from the Bears current roster. Does anybody not already associated with the Bears really believe that is likely?

In fact, if Muhammad should go down the team's next best option isn't a wide receiver. It's tight end Desmond Clark. Clark started the season strong but has been attracting more attention lately, partially due to opposing defenses realizing his importance in the passing game behind Muhammad. Better to let the other, "lesser" threats in their eyes, make the play to beat them.

So there it is. On the march to the Super Bowl, it is a wide receiver who holds the key. If Rex goes down, there is the capable, if not beloved Brian Griese to take over. If Thomas Jones, goes down, Benson will get all the carries he can handle and than some. So it is with most of the lineman on both sides of the ball. Pretty much every other spot has at least reasonable backup without insane drop-off. If Berrian were to become number one, that leaves Bradley and Gage to two and three. That fearsome wide receiver set is unlikely to lead the Bears to a Super Bowl berth. Maybe the playoffs, but this team has, as well it should, bigger, grander aspirations. So if you're a Bears fan, send all your warmest wishes towards Muhsin Muhammad. The Bears, and their Super Bowl dreams, need them.

Until next time, be good.

4 Comments:

Blogger Jeeves said...

You bring up a good point. If we only we had WR depth like Carolina or Dallas, then we'd be set no matter what.

7:51 PM, November 17, 2006  
Blogger Fornelli said...

You do realize that if Moose goes down Sunday that it's entirely your fault right?

Wasn't that you talkin about "The only thing that can stop the Wolverines this weekend is if Bo Schembechler drops dead!" on Thursday night?

12:09 AM, November 18, 2006  
Blogger jamesmnordbergjr said...

So, SR, what you're saying is that Muhsin Muhammad should stay "OUT of the Line of Fire"

3:00 PM, November 18, 2006  
Blogger Soxually Repressed said...

It's okay, the Bears have Mark Bradley now, so their worries are over.

Also, the Cowboys beat the Colts. Good for my rooting interest, but by not going undefeated, the Colts have ruined my hopes of shutting up the 72 Dolphins.

Every silver lining has a mercury cloud.

3:18 PM, November 20, 2006  

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