The club's passing attack has carried the Chicago Bears this season. The defense has been pitiful and the run game is ranked just 19th. The only consistency Chicago has had all year has come from the aerial game, which is ranked 7th in the NFL.
As we enter December, the reality is that passing in frigid, windy and sometimes icy conditions becomes much harder than it did in the fall months of September and October.
For Monday night's contest against the Dallas Cowboys, temperatures are expected to dip into the teens, and possibly lower. Yet Chicago offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer doesn't expect the passing attack to slow down.
"You hope not. You hope that you can continue to have an effect in the passing game," Kromer said today. "The thing that can get you out of the passing game is something like happened in the Baltimore game when it was so wet and so windy. We couldn't even shotgun snap in that game. But I think that we'll continue to throw the ball in the cold."
To help in that effort, the Bears practiced outside today. It was the first time coach Marc Trestman has held an outdoor practice since temperatures began dropping more than a month ago.
"We're trying to do everything we can to adapt to it by coming out here today," Kromer said. "It's not quite there, single digit, but it's pretty cold out here. We're getting used to it and that's all we can do."
The Bears have the top pass-catching duo in the league with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, so it's no surprise they want to keep getting the ball to those two playmakers. Yet if the cold does affect the passing game, Chicago will have to lean on the rushing attack. With Matt Forte, who is third in the league in all-purpose yards, that's not such a bad option, unless you consider the team's recent struggles in short-yardage situations.
"All you can do is continue with your techniques, because when it comes down to it is just executing what you've done in practice in a game," said Kromer. "And sometimes you feel like you have to do extra and that puts you out of position to do your job. I think that's happened a couple times lately in our third-and-shorts.
"We've studied all our short yardage. We've watched other teams' short yardage. And when you have something that shows up like that, where you don't make a first down, you do everything you can to figure out why and to help the guys understand why. And it was evident. But all you can do is work on it and get better at it. And that's where we're at. We've missed a couple lately and we've got to get better at that and just trusting our techniques and trusting what we do is the right thing to do even in third and short."
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.