(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The Bears' biggest problem going into week three is not whether or not Jay Cutler's pass protection will hold, when Matt Forte's ankle will recover or if Brian Urlacher is back to full speed.
It's that in the past week, the team has shown cracks in their unity.
It started with Cutler's bumping of J'Marcus Webb on the sidelines of the Bears' loss to the Packers. It didn't show a good side of the quarterback. Of course he was upset because he was sacked seven times, but publicly ripping Webb just showed the Bears' problems ran deeper than missed blocks.
The problems continued when cornerback D.J. Moore criticized Cutler's actions. This not only broke the cardinal rule of not airing the team's dirty laundry in the media, but ticked off the coach. Cutler brushed off Moore's comments, and Webb said he was eager to move on. But Lovie Smith ripped Moore.
"Coach basically just told me that you can't say that because we're a team,'' Moore said Wednesday.
Smith weighed in.
"I talk to our players, but I don't tell them what to say and don't stop them from saying anything,'' Smith said. "If you have something to say, just make sure you put your name behind it. That's the message. But, of course, the message to our football team is that we're a team. … There are things that you should keep within our group.''
Even if everything really is fine in the locker room, this doesn't look good.
Instead of talking about moving on from the Packers loss and focusing on the Rams, the Bears have been talking about their team issues. Brandon Marshall said his teammates "love Jay." Robbie Gould said the incidents may help the team. The Bears don't need an offensive coordinator, they need a therapist to bring them together and find some leadership.
It can't just be Cutler's job to lead the team, either. The Bears are chock full of veterans who have the NFL experience to lead in the locker room. Roberto Garza should be on top of the line. The defense has Urlacher, Julius Peppers and Lance Briggs. If D.J. Moore needs someone to emulate on the field and off, he can look to Charles Tillman. Two of the most tenured Bears, Patrick Mannelly and Robbie Gould, are on special teams. The Bears are not short on tenured players who should be able to keep the team together.
The bottom line? The Bears don't have to hang out together after the game, go on vacations together or attend each other's birthday parties. But in the locker room and on the field, they need to find a way to get along or the season that started with such promise will end up in disappointment.