LAST week we had our 5th preseason game, and the team took care of business. There were some apparent bugs to work out, but nothing we saw last week should takes weeks to fix. Then again, everything we saw is being judged against the backdrop of a team long known for it’s dysfunction.
This week’s opponent isn’t very good either, but they also aren’t lightly thought of. The Bears can be good at times. Their organization knows how to build a winning team. They have a couple of players that you wouldn’t mind having on this roster. Beating them would legitimize us as credibly being on our way.
Let me say right now though, if we lose a competitive fight this week, it’s nothing to get pissed over. The best way to learn how to take a punch, is to take a punch. Considering how soft this team has grown over the years, an early punch in the mouth could help shape the street brawler mentality that this team has lacked for some time now. (If you were a fan during Buddy Ryan, you know what I mean.)
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to look for, Week 2 versus the Bears :
1) Hit Jay Cutler early and often.
We don’t need to sack him early, we just need to make him concerned for his well-being. He’s a turnover machine. Coming into this season, Cutler averaged 17.5 turnovers per year over the course of his career, and 18.5 per year since becoming a Bear. Better still, he doesn’t respond well at all to pressure.
2) DE’s need to keep contain. Last week the DE’s ignored the old adage of play the run first, as they instead focused on pass rushing, from the start of many downs. This led to them being too far upfield on the edges, leaving space inside for the Browns RB to find room to run. This week they need to play more disciplined ball.
3) Get some Guard help for C Jason Kelce. Bears NT Eddie Goldman is the sort of big (6’4, 320) bullrusher that has always given Kelce fits. If Kelce can’t hold his ground, then QB Carson Wentz won’t have a pocket to step up into.
4) Play aggressive man coverage with WR Alshon Jeffrey. Disrupting his timing and force him inside. He breaks tackles. A CB will find no tackling assist from the sideline. However, Jeffrey has a history of missing time. Forcing him inside, sets him up for big hits which would be very much on his mind as he tried to locate and secure balls.
Most of what we need to watch for this week, is on the defensive side of the ball. Barring Carson Wentz walking on water or turning it into wine this week, our Defense will need to play well for a whole game if we’re to win this one. This week they won’t get away with showing up late, like they did last week.