Bears’ Defense Faces Another Big Test This Week
After giving up 40 points to the Detroit Lions last week, the last thing the Bears need is to go up against another high powered offense. But that is exactly what will happen when the Bears welcome the undefeated (4-0) New Orleans Saints to Soldier Field this weekend. The Saints led by Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees along with head coach and Chicago area native Sean Payton, are flying high and are among the top teams in the NFC. They have put up 30-plus point games in back-to-back weeks, and are averaging well over 400 yards per game this year.
Of course Brees’ can’t do it all by himself as he has a pool of talent around him that makes this team go. With Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles coming out the backfield, the Saints have two dual-threat players that can hurt any defense. There are also plenty of targets to throw to down field…. Wide receivers Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, and Kenny Stills, as well as the dangerous tight end Jimmy Graham are all at Brees’ disposal.
After seeing how the Saints offense has carved up opposing defenses in 2013, the Bears will have their work cut out for them. But despite the potentially difficult challenge that may lie ahead, this is still a winnable game for the Bears. We all know what the Bears offense can do. They are capable of scoring 30-plus points any given week so the Saints defense will have their own challenge to deal with. As for the Saints offense, they don’t run the ball very much so that shouldn’t be a factor. This will also be the first time they’ve gone up against a solid defense this season.
What the Bears can do however is to take away and isolate Brees’ offensive weapons. The Bears should stick to their nickel defense for most of the game this week. This could be a great opportunity for Isaiah Frey to step up and finally show that the preseason was no fluke. The Saints like to spread the field with receivers, so having Frey along with Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings on the field for a good portion of the game (with the safeties in the cover-2) could help take away some passing lanes for the Saints.
The Bears’ linebacking corps will also be of great importance if the Bears are to succeed on Sunday. They’re main focus will be to keep Sproles and Thomas from doing any damage. They will also spend some time covering Graham as well. The best bet for Lance Briggs, James Anderson and D.J. Williams will be to limit the amount of space that the Saints running backs can have on the field. They will also need to play tight man coverage against Graham in order to limit his movements.
The defensive line however will have the most important job, putting pressure on Brees. The Saints signal caller has been sacked 12 times so far this year. He is vulnerable when he hangs onto the ball for too long while trying to throw deep. The Bears front four has only accounted for three of the team’s six sacks thus far. Losing Henry Melton for the year did not help matters. If the Bears can put constant pressure on Brees and get a few sacks in the process, it would go a long way to helping the Bears pick up their fourth win of the season (The offense also needs to do their part).
The task is not impossible but it won’t be easy. It’ll be interesting to see what type of game plan defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has in store on Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82