- Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times thinks the Bears need something “to get their attention” to get them out of their funk. I’m not sure what that it, exactly, and I don’t think he is either.
- The Bears believe they have just the right kind of defense to stop the Broncos’ read option offense. From Fred Mitchell at the Chicago Tribune:
“We’re an athletic defense … we have a pretty good front,” [Brian] Urlacher said. “We run to the football. Hopefully we get takeaways, which we haven’t done in the last couple of weeks. Just run to the football and do what we do.”
The Bears do have the kind of discipline it takes to stay in their gaps and stop this kind of offense when they’re playing well against the run – which they have not always done this year. But the real problem is that plenty of teams have stopped the Broncos this year only to have them hang around and win at the end. The defense has to lay a complete game and they are gong to need some offense to win.
- Charles Barkley sends out this request over at ESPN1000:
“I want to make a personal plea to Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, Mr. [Julius] Peppers, please stop the madness,” Barkley said Friday on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000. “I’m just so tired … I like Tim Tebow. He seems like a good kid, and I wish him success, but I am Tebowed out. So this is my personal plea for you three guys, please stop this madness.”
- Jeff Dickerson at ESPNChicago.com points out that the Broncos like to run out of a three receiver set. It will be interesting to see if the Bears choose to keep linebacker Nick Roach in the game in those situations instead of going to the nickel. The guess here is that they confident in their nickel backs stopping the run.
- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune makes the point that the Bears are less likely to pass to the running back with Matt Forte out. That’s true. But I was puzzled by the lack of a screen game against the Chiefs. I’m wondering if offensive coordinator Mike Martz has lost confidence in Caleb Hanie‘s ability to execute it after having one intercepted against the Oakland Raiders two weeks ago.
- Pompei also points out that the Bears are being penalized a lot but that the penalties are even for and against the Bears. I never doubted whether there was a bias against the Bears but I do think the officiating has been especially bad this year. I’m starting to wonder if adding another official to the crew might not be a bad idea.
- And Pompei also writes about the way to game plan against the Broncos:
“The best way to play [Tim Tebow] is with a zone defense so all eyes are on him. Eight in the box is recommended. Try to force him to throw to beat you. Gap discipline is important.”
- Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune writes an article about how safety Craig Steltz has to step up with Major Wright suffering a sprained shoulder. Meanwhile we’re all left to wonder what happened to Brandon Merriweather (again).
- Pompei also points out that the upcoming draft will be a good one for defensive ends for The National Football Post. The Bears might be thinking in the direction of the defensive line (again). The Bears need another end even if you don’t account for the fact that none of the current defensive linemen has taken full advantage of the presence of Julius Peppers.
- For those of you who enjoy these things:
- The Browns are under fire for allegedly letting quarterback Colt McCoy play with a concussion. This may be one to keep an eye on. It sounds like the team may be outright lying.
- Lions head coach Jim Schwartz continues to enable Ndamukong Suh. Via ESPN‘s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert:
“‘The fact that he was in a fender-bender?’ Schwartz said. ‘How guys drive and things like that … let’s worry about him on the field. Ndamukong is a hard-working guy and he hasn’t had any kind of issues with the law, including this one. Let’s worry about him on the field and get him back playing well. He’s under a microscope, but that’s too much of a microscope.”
Here’s the description of the “fender bender”:
“‘When the light turned green, he floored it,’ one of the passengers told KGW-TV. ‘I just remember going so fast and it was violent, and just getting thrown around like rag dolls.'”
Suh eventually hit a tree. Afterwards he told one passenger who requested medical attention that “she was fine”. She left and walked down the street to get her husband to take her to the hospital.
- And here’s more good news for Bear fans. On a related (but unsurprising) on field note, Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham denies that the Lions have a discipline problem. So don’t count on the problem being solved any time soon. Via Dave Birkett at the Detroit Free Press.
- From Pro Football Weekly‘s Audibles:
“Put on the tape and watch (Lions DT) Ndamukong Suh get blocked one-on-one all game and you show me where he is the dominant player he has been made out to be (by the media). I’ve never seen a bigger farce. I thought he was overrated coming out of college, and he has done nothing to change my mind. He’s nothing but a bunch of hot air, and I think people are starting to come around to it.”
- Pompei also makes the point for the Chicago Tribune that the injuries around the league are a “strong argument against an 18 game season”.
- And Pompei quotes Titan’s head coach Mike Munchak on running back Chris Johnson for The National Football Post. Bear fans might want to pay attention to this one because it might be relevant if Matt Forte decides to hold out after being franchised next year:
“Missing camp, it definitely affected him,” he said. “We knew it would. We just didn’t know how much. Is that the only reason we weren’t running well? No. But to be a running back in this league, you have to be in a certain kind of condition and shape, have a certain spring in your legs.”
- The Redskins are concerned about the state of the playing field 24 hours after the Army-Navy game was played at Fed-Ex field. Sounds familiar. Via Brad Biggs at The National Football Post.
- For those looking for a reason why the Packers might lose we have this Audible from Pro Football Weekly:
“Usually at this time of the year, there is more clarity about who will be in the Super Bowl. Yeah, Green Bay is undefeated, but if they land on a field where they can’t throw the ball and they have to play power football, I’m not so sure they are the best team in the NFC. And they are looking at a cold home field. The Packers look a lot like the Patriots did when they ran the table – a loss might be good for them right now. I think they need to be humbled.”
One Final Thought
Fred Mitchell at the Chicago Tribune summarizes the situation in Chicago:
“After the last two losses, Bears players and coaches may have more confidence in themselves right now than their fans.”
Yeah, pretty much.
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Nobody cares what Charles Barkley thinks about football. He should stick to what he knows. Whatever that might be.
Perhaps it was more about sanity and less about football. On the other hand, maybe Barkley shouldn’t be commenting on sanity either…