Pound the ball with Ryan Grant. Everyone you’ll read will talk about the Bears’ strong run D and their poor pass defense. That doesn’t matter for this game. The Pack should open up the pass game by running the ball effectively. What the Bears are hoping happens, is that the Pack tries a few run plays without success, then gives up the run. Then, the Bears would just drop extra players into coverage making the pass game harder. I recognize this is a tall order for a seemingly hapless O-Line, but last week they actually blocked quite well on running plays. Couple this with the fact that Grant has been running hard lately and seems to be playing inspired ball. Good run game will open up the pass big-time because their pass D is bad.
The Bears’ corners are not playing well. Work them on longer patterns. This could be pretty tough for an O-Line with major protection issues, but it is very important to at least take a few shots down field to stretch the field. I know I often include this in the game keys, but I often include this after a week when we didn’t stretch the field and it cost us (though it was hard to stretch the field for Rodgers when he had .5 seconds to throw the ball).
McCarthy can’t be afraid to bench one of the O-Line players if they are sucking. I am usually a proponent of sticking with a core group of guys hoping they’ll eventually get it together but in this case, I’m not so sure anyway. I am particularly concerned re Chad Clifton’s play and my concern is not just based on his horrific showing last week. He hasn’t played well for a while.
McCarthy also needs to be willing to evaluate on the fly, during the game, how Hawk is doing in the middle. If it’s not working, McCarthy may be better off going to that 4-2-5 nickel-type line-up they used so effectively against the Colts. The Bears may be game-planning as I type for a heavy dose of the 2-TE sets and having more coverage help may be a good idea. Also, the way our LBs are playing this year (in the 4-3-4 line-up), I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that just having a 4-2-5 for most of the game might not also be better for stopping the run.
McCarthy also needs to be ready to cut Frost DURING THE GAME if he continues to not deliver. I’m sure Mason Crosby can punt the ball 30-40 yards on a line drive with 1 second hangtime.
Force Matt Forte to fumble. I don’t care if it means giving up extra yards because we’re too busy trying to strip the ball. Putting a dent in this kids’ growing confidence (and consequently, in Lovie’s confidence in Forte) could really help us to encourage them to try to beat us through the air.
I want to see Aaron Rodgers line up as a WR at least once.
One more key — If Frost kicks the ball to Hester it is all over. Not only should Frost be fired so should MM. Kicking to Hester will be like a color-blind member of the bomb squad picking the wire to cut.
Ok, that was a bad pick by Rodgers, who underthrew Driver by a lot. On the one hand, it’s like a pretty good punt, pinning the Bears at the ten. On the other hand, it really screws up Rodgers’ third down stats. . . .
And Lovie Smith is clearly outcoaching Mike McCarthy. . . . .