For all that is good that came out of the Bears Week 1 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, there were a few warning lights flashing as well and to ignore them beyond the players' 24-hour rule would be pure folly.
I have wondered from the day we all arrived in Bourbonnais why everyone seems so comfortable with the Bears secondary. Many seem to take it completely on faith that the Bears are set on the back end and we should focus our concerns elsewhere.
I really don't know where that comes from, specifically at the safety position, and I think an objective observer has to be concerned coming out of the opener.
Charles "Peanut" Tillman probably isn't the best cornerback in football. His coverage ability is excellent but he is not a lockdown coverage corner. What he is is the most dangerous cornerback in the NFL because no other is as likely as he is to create takeaways, both with forced fumbles and interecptions at almost any point in the game.
While Tim Jennings is also a Pro Bowl performer he is not in Tillman's league nor does he engender the complete confidence Peanut does. I love the guy for his toughness, outstanding ball skills and nose for the football that borders on radar.
Jennings will get beat, but every corner does. The Bears are fine at cornerback.
It is at safety where this team scares and puzzles me. Both Chris Conte and Major Wright are better than average against the run, and this year in Bourbonnais Conte seemed to display some of Jennings' ability to find the football.
But when have these two ever done anything but lose their depth in Cover 2, prove they can run man-to-man with slot receivers, running backs or even tight ends? When have they done anything to earn our trust in pass coverage?
Among the things Marc Trestman was most concerned about and critical of in the Bengals game, he first said, "We've got to limit our explosive plays, 130 yards of their offense was on three plays. We know we've got to do a better job there."
Asked if the Bears were in Cover 2 on one of those plays, the A.J. Green 45-yard touchdown, Trestman confirmed that they were and just a glance at the tape confirms that was Wright's mistake.
In fact, it was hard to find a play on the tape of the Bears game in which either Wright or Conte were strong in coverage.
In fairness to the two of them, and the entire secondary, the blame cannot be completely laid at their feet. Another major concern of Trestman's about his defense against the Bengals was, "When you go to single coverage, you've got to be able to get their (quarterback) with four or five. We didn't do that and it made it more difficult. Any time you go to man, those things are going to happen. And we had to go to man sometimes. You can't cover without a rush, and we didn't rush the way we're capable of."
Clearly, the coach is absolutely right, and I'm sure that issue will lead to its own column if it's not corrected against the Vikings.
But the whole idea of "coverage" as Trestman refers to it, be it Cover 1, Cover 2 or Cover 3, is in all cases, you're using the safeties to help in pass coverage to eliminate big plays and allow the corners some comfort when they do try and make plays on the ball.
It's early and the Bears' next two opponents, Minnesota and Pittsburgh, don't feature game-breaking receivers. But if the Bears, Wright and Conte don't use this time to fix their big-play problems, the defense could end up with problems that Mel Tucker has no answer for.
Conte and Wright have to get better in coverage.
• Hub Arkush covers the Bears for Shaw Media and HubArkush.com. Write to him at email@example.com.