Breaking down the Bears during their bye

Answering the Bears’ biggest questions:

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Miami Dolphins v Chicago Bears

Bears quarterback Justin Fields hands the ball off to Chase Claypool on Nov. 6.

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Answering the Bears’ biggest questions during their bye:

What do the Bears need to see from Justin Fields in the last four games?

Good health. Because of injury and illness, Fields played only three of the Bears’ final eight games last season. He must finish this season strong —he needs the experience and the Bears need continued proof of concept for the offense they’ve built around him.

Is Matt Eberflus doing a good job?

In a normal year, a 3-10 record with six losses by one score or less would be a red flag. But he’s coaching with one hand tied behind his back — the Bears are spending a league-low $85 million on their active roster and a league-high $91.6 million on players no longer on their team.

What should the Bears do with a top-three draft pick?

Pray that someone will trade up to draft a quarterback. The Bears have so many needs — both lines, wide receiver, linebacker and more — that moving down to get more picks would be a gift. Two years ago, the 49ers gave the Dolphins three first-rounders and a third-round pick to move up from No. 12 to No. 3 and draft quarterback Trey Lance. The Bears won’t get that kind of haul — maybe no one will, ever again — but they should try.

I’ll be watching this player the rest of the year ...

Since Week 9, Cole Kmet has been the second-best tight end in football, behind Travis Kelce. In the admittedly small sample size, he ranks second with 249 receiving yards and five touchdowns and third with 21 catches, 30 targets and 12 first downs. A strong final month will make Kmet money; the Bears can give him a contract extension at year’s end.

Which surprise player has earned a 2023 starting job?

Rookie middle linebacker Jack Sanborn had played one defensive snap all season when the Bears put him in for 13 against the Cowboys. The next day, they traded Roquan Smith. The undrafted free agent’s 54 tackles since then are second-most in the NFL.

What has been the biggest disappointment of the season?

That general manager Ryan Poles couldn’t get the Steelers to take the Ravens’ second-round pick, which currently sits at No. 57 overall, for receiver Chase Claypool. He dealt the Bears’ own second-rounder, which would be No. 34 if the season ended today.

How many games will the Bears win the rest of the way?

One — and that’s presuming the Vikings have nothing to play for in the finale.

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