Questions overhang a Bears defense yet to hold an opponent to fewer than 21 points and special teams still making one significant gaffe per game.
It could be worse. A lot worse. It could be Washington.
A 1-4 start has coach Mike Shanahan, quarterback Robert Griffin III and others playing defense in the wake of a demoralizing loss at Dallas and in preparation for next Sunday with the Bears.
Griffin, returning from a season-ending knee injury, has fallen from the fourth-ranked passer in the NFL (102.4 rating, 1.3 interception percentage, tied for No. 1, and a 65.6 completion percentage) to 21st, with a rating of 80.4 and five interceptions vs. six touchdown passes, plus a 59.8-percent completion rate.
Notably perhaps, he is apparently tired of people telling him how to play the position.
“I’m just really focusing on being the playmaker that I know I can be and not letting anybody else tell me how to play this game,” Griffin said in an interview after the Dallas loss.
“You know, I got here for a reason, and I’ve got to make sure I use all of my abilities to their maximum. And running the ball is one of those, when I do get the opportunity. It’s not that I’m looking for it, but if it is there, I will take it.”
Whether that was a shot telling Shanahan or anyone else in particular to back off is left to conjecture. Former Washington quarterback Sonny Jurgensen has been outspoken, urging Griffin to run less. Then again, Jurgensen also has criticized Griffin for wearing headphones during pregame warmups so ...
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Meanwhile, Shanahan has been in the position of fielding questions about confidence or possible changes in his coaching staff, specifically on special teams, coached by former Bears linebacker Keith Burns.
“It’s up to you guys to analyze all those type of things,” Shanahan said via Mike Jones at the Washington Post. “I’ve got a lot of belief in our coaches, a lot of belief in our players.”
Washington started 3-6 last season and won its last seven in a row to win the NFC East going away.