Main concern for Packers/Bears game

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I have listened to some radio shows in recent days talking about the Packers/Bears game. And one thing few people seem to be talking about is the defense of the Bears. Most of the attention (around here anyway) is on how awesome Rodgers is, how great our WRs are and how easily Cutler will be rattled by Matthews. All of those things are/may be true. But nobody seems to be giving the Bears’ D any credit here.

I am really concerned about the Bears’ defense. Lance Briggs is a very good player. Urlacher isn’t as good as he used to be but he is essentially the soul of the defense so he maintains a significant on-field presence (and he’s still savvy enough to make big-time plays). Peppers is the guy people refer to now when talking about the Bears’ D – and he’s back and as good as advertised – but to me, the one thing over time that is often overlooked is the Bears’ D-Line. Mark Anderson and Tommie Harris are also disruptive players. The line seems to be able to get pressure often rushing just 4-5 (and sometimes even 3). I realize their overall defensive personnel has been better in the past, but they still have some quality players. (I should throw Charles Tillman in there with the good ones, not because he’s technically that good of a CB anymore, but more because he can be standing still picking dandelions and somehow cause a turnover.)

Last Sunday, the Bears’ D held the Dallas running game (Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice – 3 very good backs), to 36 yards. And after two games, the Bears are leading the NFL in rushing defense giving up an average of just 28 yards per game. I know it’s only been 2 games but that’s ridiculous. So, assuming we struggle with our running game, that puts extra pressure on Rodgers and frankly our O-Line to keep Rodgers standing if he has to throw all day. And of course, without much of a running game, our clock management, offensive balance and ability to give our defense a rest all suffer.

So to me, these are the key questions for tonight’s game: will McCarthy still try and force the run, and if so, can Brandon Jackson deliver? Will the Bears play the run as aggressively as they did last week or will they disrespect it like Buffalo started to do last week?

I think this will be a better game than most people seem to think.

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7 Responses to “Main concern for Packers/Bears game”

  1. CindyV Says:

    I’ve already got butterflies in my stomach over this game. I was just talking to a co-worker this morning about the Bears defense and how concerned I am about it. The Bears really made an effort in free agency to boost their team. This will nto be an esay game.

  2. DaveK Says:

    I agree. Running effectively enough to keep the defense honest is always a key cog is breaking down an effective cover 2 defense. If you can’t run effectively it allows that front four to get QB pressure which really is the key to Lovie’s Tampa 2 defense. If they can get Jackson going early it slows down those DE’s and will suck up the LB’s to allow some passing lanes to open up. Run well and you can exploit that below average Bear’s secondary.

    I think the Bear’s defense has not been tested this year with a balanced functional offense. Against the Lions they fell behind 14-3 with Best running for two TD’s. Stafford got hurt at the end of the first half, the Bears stacked the box to stop Best, and the Lions offense was abysmal the rest of the game until the final drive. They were playing a bad team with a back-up QB.

    I didn’t see much of the Cowboy/Bear game. From what I have read the Cowboys offense was sloppy with penalties, a reeling o-line, and costly turnovers. Romo threw 51 passes with only 18 rushes which the Dallas media has taken them to task over. This was the same Dallas offense that put up only 7 points against the Redskins in week one. St. Louis scored 30 against the Skins yesterday!

    I think the Packers offense will fare fine tonight. Protecting the ball will always be key against the Bears. (Note to James Jones please) If they protect the ball and run well enough to keep the defense honest I think the Packers offense will score enough to win.

    I have more concerns about the Packer defense. I worry about Forte out of the back-field the most. That little Martz swing pass to the RB or running Forte out on passing routs off motion has a real chance to cause problems for the Packer LB’s and young secondary. But, the Packers will handle that and just make life miserable for Cutler tonight. Cutler returns to last year’s form and the Packers roll.

    My prediction: Packers 31 Bears 17

  3. ebongreen Says:

    I think the game will be competitive, but I do think the Bears will still lose.

    The Bears have beaten the Lions by knocking Stafford out of the game and a wacky rule on the final play, and beat the Cowboys by letting the Cowboys mostly beat themselves. Their defense is stout, but I don’t think their offense is nearly as good as they think – particularly the O-line. They’re a couple of plays from being 0-2 rather than 2-0.

    Honestly, this game could boil down to a passing frenzy as neither team may be able to run the ball, and I have a little more confidence in the Packers defense and pass rush – which has more scheme to it and a young healthy Clay Matthews – vs. the Bears offensive line. The Bears pass rush features Peppers and Tommie Harris, who are both good and old, vs. the Packers offensive line and depth to keep rushers off Rodgers’ back. I believe the Packers receiver corps is better in production than the Bears, though Chicago has the edge in pure speed with Hester and Knox. The Bears don’t have Charles Woodson and they don’t have a comparable player to Nick Collins either.

    In the end, the Packers are a more talented team, and they should prevail – but it should also be a good game. :)

  4. Trav Says:

    Interesting point I heard on ESPN Milwaukee this lunchtime. Dallas has Ware, who is a great pass rusher, similar to the much deserved hype that Matthews is getting. I didn’t look at the stats of the game, but evidently Chi schemed to keep Ware in check and he was a non-factor. Will we potentially see the same tonight if they employ the same scheme? Will Capers adjust? Will someone else step up if they contain Matthews? Will the Bears try something else? I guess we will find out in about 4 hours.

  5. 56coop Says:

    I’m with you on the Chicago defense. Yeah they almost lost to Detroit and NE almost lost to BUffalo yesterday. Pack needs to be on their game and ready to adjust. This should be a hell of a game and show if in fact the BEars are for real (And the Pack for that matter)

  6. Tom Freeman Says:

    I wonder what the deal is with Tommie Harris being declared inactive as a coach’s decision? There is some kind of a story there. Heck, Braylon Edwards was only held out of the game yesterday for one quarter, despite his arrest for drunk driving.

  7. DaveK Says:

    Harris was benched for a game last year because of ‘personal conduct’.
    Listening to Chicago sports radio this week the radio guys seemed real high on his replacement Matt Toeina. They seem to think he can provide better inside pressure then Harris. But, I doubt they make Harris inactive even if Toeina won the starting job unless Harris rubbed the coaches the wrong way again this year.

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