Orleans has to start generating a pass rush. It's the only team in the league
without a sack. With little pressure applied by the Saints, their opponents
have completed 12 passes of 24 yards or longer, six of them for touchdowns. How
bad are things? "Steve Weatherford is playing great," says linebacker
Scott Fujita, referring to the Saints' punter with a 48.3-yard average.
"Other than that, we're not playing worth a damn now."
need better quarterbacking and improved health on defense. Coach Lovie Smith
finally pulled the plug on starting QB Rex Grossman, but replacement Brian
Griese wasn't the answer on Sunday, throwing three costly interceptions in a
37--27 loss at Detroit. Don't be surprised if third-stringer Kyle Orton gets
the call in the next few weeks. Chicago also could use a back who can run
downhill to take pressure off the passers—a guy like their leading rusher last
season, Thomas Jones, who was traded to the Jets last March. Former first-round
pick Cedric Benson has been inadequate as Jones's successor, averaging only 3.2
yards a carry, with one touchdown.
On defense the
Bears lost tackle Dusty Dvoracek and free safety Mike Brown to season-ending
knee injuries in the opener; linebacker Lance Briggs (hamstring), cornerbacks
Nathan Vasher (groin) and Charles Tillman (ankle), and safety Adam Archuleta
(broken hand) sat out the Lions game. When healthy, the unit is among the best
in the league. When ailing, the Bears have no shot—particularly if the offense
is turning the ball over.
Will any of these
three turn it around? The schedule doesn't help. This week San Diego plays at
Denver, where the Chargers haven't won two straight since the '60s. New Orleans
hosts Carolina, which has won five in a row in the Superdome. Chicago goes to
Green Bay to face the sky-high Packers. "We're doing all the things poor
football teams do, and we're doing all the things that keep you from winning
games," says coach Sean Payton, whose Saints are coming off their bye week.
"We have to get it corrected in a short time. If not, we'll continue [to
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