Archive for September, 2011

Weather update

September 25, 2011

There is a good chance the field will be sloppy today. The field is terrible to begin with, but I assume Chicago got a fair amount of rain like Milwaukee has the last couple days. And the forecast is calling for more rain today.

This could change the complexion of the game. If it favors anyone it favors Chicago – but I’ll stick with my pick for the Packers to win.

Old Man Injury – Coccyx

September 23, 2011

Last Saturday, I was doing nothing in particular and suddenly, by nighttime, I was dealing with completely debilitating pain in my…coccyx (tailbone). I could barely move. Standing and laying down were sort of doable, but sitting down and moving just weren’t in the cards. The tailbone just hurt like mad. On Sunday, I missed church and didn’t leave the house as I laid down or stood up all day. Too painful to sit.

Absolutely no idea what has caused this pain. Only thing I can come up with is that my birthday was 9/22 and some force in the universe was simply trying to taunt me re my age.

One thing I have learned from this OMI is that I seriously take for granted sitting. All day every day I sit. And I’ve never thought about how nice it is to sit without pain. It’s sort of like breathing. I take sitting for granted constantly. Well, now that it hurts to sit, I don’t take it for granted. In fact, all of you sitting and reading this ought to take a moment to un-take-for-granted the fact that you can sit pain-free.

Packers/Bears Preview

September 23, 2011
  • The Nick Collins loss hurts. Peprah did fill in nicely last year for Burnett when he went down. And Burnett has flashed some moments already of serious talent. But Burnett is not Collins and the Packers will miss Collins. Collins is fast, a good hitter, generally takes good angles and has a  knack for causing turnovers. He will be missed.
  • That said, it’s not all doom and gloom in the secondary. In fact, when considering the present state of the pass defense – a fair argument could be made that it’s simply not possible to play any worse as a pass defense. It can only get better from here. Tramon being back will help.
  • So far the Bears have given up 11 sacks in two games. That’s really bad. Now that Gabe Carimi is out, that could make them even more vulnerable. However, if Martz and Cutler truly do change the offensive game plan (like they’ve said they would) to run more and to throw quicker/shorter passes, they may be able to reduce the damage a bit. Only problem with that is that I’m not sure Cutler is well-suited to a quick passing game. There is just something about Cutler’s style – he doesn’t seem to play with the sense of urgency the great QBs of today play with. I think, at least sometimes, Cutler isn’t thinking/deciding quick enough and that’s part of the reason he gets sacked so much.
  • This is a strange game. I can see the Packers losing or the Packers winning comfortably. The thing I can’t see is a close, exciting game. If the Pack loses, the team will shrug it off and quickly move on. A loss for us would be far less damaging to the Pack than a loss for the Bears. And a blowout by the Packers, which is very possible, would result in the Bears being done for the year. As you may remember, I have the Bears going 5-11 this year. One of these weeks their team direction (down) will become very apparent.
  • Dom Capers needs to step up his game some. Not only has the D looked ragged, but already in just the first 2 games there have been some specific defensive play calls that were really bad. In game 1, with the Saints driving at the end he called a blitz for two of his most exhausted defenders (Hawk and Bishop) – one of whom continues to prove he’s too slow to EVER get a blitz call (Hawk). The call led to an easy completion by Brees of 20+ yards keeping the drive alive. At that moment, it was an incredibly bad call. But the horrendous pass defense needs to be figured out asap. I know Collins’ injury hurts but like I said before, it can’t possibly get any worse. Capers needs to figure out different blitz/rush packages to take advantage of the attention paid to Matthews. And/or he needs to start lining Matthews up all over to throw offenses off. If S’oto were healthy I think he’d fill this role nicely. But I’m not sure if he’s playing Sunday and the other guys aren’t cutting it. We may need to bring more regular pressure from Woodson and the CBs and safeties. Last week Cam Newton had a few plays where he had so much time back there that anyone could have completed a pass. If there is such a thing as a coverage sack, there ought to be such a thing as a no-pass-rush-completion.
  • If there is such a thing as a coverage sack, there ought to be such a thing as a no-pass-rush-completion. (I restated this as a separate bullet point because I like it.)
  • Forte is a huge part of the Chicago offense. Last week, we let RB Jonathan Stewart catch 8 passes for 100 yards. While we totally shut down the running game, we didn’t shut down the short passing game to Stewart. Forte can do this same thing to us and we need to do everything possible to wrap him up. I almost think we should consider having Woodson or Bishop or someone shadow Forte/have primary responsibility for him. Let the other guys beat us if they can, but don’t let Forte beat us.
  • Considering that the Bears play a cover 2 that for whatever reason seems to give Rodgers a bit of trouble (at least w/re to getting his WRs involved), I’d recommend that MM work particularly hard early on to get Starks and Grant involved in the passing game. Some running plays, play action, screens, RBs in the slot, fake handoffs – whatever. Get these guys involved to bring the safeties in and condense the field. Then take advantage of the inevitable cheating by the Bears’ safeties and take some shots deep – expanding the field.
  • Final prediction: Packers 31, Bears 13.

Martz taking the blame

September 23, 2011

Another article from the Chicago Tribune. Martz taking the blame for throwing too much and not running enough. I do remember when it was 16-13 last week for the Bears in New Orleans – I was surprised the Bears hung on for as long as they did because they aren’t in the same class as the Saints. But while this article talks about the pressure/sacks, it doesn’t mention the injury to Gabe Carimi. While his injury alone didn’t account for all 5 sacks that happened later in the game, it is at least noteworthy that as far as I understand it, 5 of the 6 sacks happened after he was out.

While it’s logical to think the Packers should be able to sack Cutler 20 times Sunday, I’m not sure that’s going to happen. It all depends on whether or not our passing game takes off early. If it does, and if we can build a lead, then I think the Bears will have to start passing and then it’s possible Cutler will get hit constantly. However, if we can’t get things going early, I think the Bears will do everything they can to make this a classic old running, grind-it-out, bruising, playing-on-a-crappy-field, ugly game. They truly will run a lot.

So much will depend on McCarthy this week. If there ever was a time to tap into his large playbook, it’s now. We need creative plays the Bears haven’t seen before because as bad as Lovie Smith is as a coach (and I think he’s quite bad), he definitely has had a read on what the Packers do offensively.

Bears fans thinking Cutler doomed

September 22, 2011

Check out this poll over at the Chicago Tribune. Even Bears fans are planning on a sack fest.

How many times will the Packers sack Bears QB Jay Cutler on Sunday?

  • 4 or less (435 responses)

    23%

  • 5 to 7 (1010 responses)

    53%

  • 8 or more (452 responses)

    24%

1897 total responses

(Results not scientific)

 

Pack’s D #30 and Patriots’ D #31…

September 21, 2011

…in yards given up. Perhaps the new key to success in the NFL is just hemorrhaging total yards as a defense. The Pack and the Pats are #32 and #31 respectively in pass yards given up so far.

Packers tied for 4th in sacks

September 21, 2011

Interesting stat. I would have guessed we weren’t so good in the sack category.

Terrible news from McCarthy – Collins done for the year

September 19, 2011

Ugh. This hurts. Read here from Silverstein. Collins has been a quality force back there for us the last few years. His tackling, playmaking skills and his speed with be missed big time. I have to say I’m surprised by this. While the hit did look painful, I figured it would be a neck strain of some kind that would keep him out for a few games. But apparently it was much worse than that.

(Thanks to Ron L for the heads up on this breaking news.)

Glaring omission from my game thoughts – Rob Chudzinski

September 19, 2011

I forgot to write about one particular facet of the game that seriously intrigued me: the work of offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. Lost in the Cam Newton praise-fest was the work this O-Coordinator has done with a rookie QB who is surrounded by talent that heading into this year, could have safely been labeled ‘questionable’. There were times in the game yesterday when Carolina players were not only open, but stunningly wide open. Yes, the Packers’ D was really bad yesterday. But I think a good part of the reason for this was that Capers was essentially out-dueled by a relatively inexperienced play caller. Especially on the first few drives, Chudzinski was calling plays that were so well thought out that slow guys like Jeremy Shockey were wide open. And importantly, he seemed to be calling plays that gave Newton a relatively high chance of succeeding.

The reason I’m writing a special post just on this is that I also saw the Carolina/Cardinals game in Week 1 and the same thing happened several times. Steve Smith was so wide open on a couple passes it was ridiculous. While the Cardinals’ D features a rookie CB and generally, poorer talent that GB’s D, I don’t think it’s a stretch to argue again, that at least part of the defensive confusion can be attributed quality play calling by Chudzinski.

Keep an eye out for this Chudzinski guy.

Woodson admits Smith got the better of him

September 19, 2011

Read here from jsonline. True – as I indicated during the game. But as the article also points out, it’s true that Woodson made big plays when we needed them like he has always done. While he’s very evidently not the true cover corner he used to be, Woodson is still one of the best defenders in the NFL.


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