Five questions facing Bears after week off

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by short faced bear, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach
    DBS Writer

    Mar 29, 2009
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    Concerns on defense, at quarterback biggest for Trestman & Co.

    By Rich Campbell, Chicago Tribune reporter

    7:21 p.m. CDT, October 27, 2013

    The Bears return to practice Monday hoping six days off were sufficient to heal nagging injuries and enable coaches to plan for saving the season. After losing three of four games entering the off week, they must proceed without injured quarterback Jay Cutler and linebacker Lance Briggs. The road ahead, then, is littered with obstacles. Here we examine five of the biggest questions facing the Bears coming out of the week off:

    1. Can the defense improve without Briggs?

    General manager Phil Emery last week said the Bears defense must improve "in terms of our assignments, our discipline and our fundamentals." In other words, the problems are comprehensive and basic. As a result, the Bears through seven weeks ranked 30th in the NFL in yards allowed per play (6.2), and that was with Briggs, a seven-time Pro Bowler, in the lineup. Now they'll be without their signal-caller and best tackler for at least six weeks because of a fractured left shoulder. Without Briggs' experience and prowess aligning players before the snap and making tackles, it's difficult to envision the Bears improving in those critical areas.

    2. How can the Bears generate a pass rush?

    Emery, coach Marc Trestman and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker have been careful to deflect blame from individuals onto the entire defense, but there's no way to make Julius Peppers' statistical production — or lack thereof — look good. At 33, he isn't winning blocks frequently enough, and the explosiveness and power on which he built his Pro Bowl reputation are not consistently evident. On the other side, Shea McClellin, last year's first-round pick, has not played with enough quickness or strength to consistently affect the opposing quarterback. If the ends don't start winning blocks, the deep secondary will continue to be exposed.

    3. How would continued defensive struggles affect morale and chemistry?

    The first public sign of dissent surfaced Oct. 17 when Briggs criticized play-calling, saying, "We've stunted our defensive line and put them in situations where on passing downs they couldn't generate a continuous pass rush." The Bears have a veteran defense that is unaccustomed to giving up yards and points as it has. They also are playing for a new coordinator after nine seasons of success under coach Lovie Smith. Although Tucker kept Smith's Cover-2 scheme in place, changes in coaching methods and strategy can be difficult for veterans to accept, especially when results aren't positive. Leaders must remain upbeat and committed.

    4. Will Cutler be effective when he returns, especially if it's on the short end of the timetable?

    The team announced Cutler is expected to miss at least four weeks with a torn left groin muscle, but receiver Brandon Marshall has said it won't take that long. Cutler shared similar optimism with Trestman last week, ESPN reported. If Cutler does come back sooner, it will be interesting to see whether he can extend plays with his legs, which was a critical component of the Bears' 3-0 start. And considering how the groin is part of the core muscles from which a passer generates throwing velocity, Cutler's ability to drive the ball and fit throws into tight windows must be monitored.

    5. Can backup quarterback Josh McCown effectively steer the offense?

    McCown understands his limitations, which should help coaches devise game plans and help his decision-making on the field. He knows he must anticipate receivers getting open because he doesn't have the arm strength to throw late. He also proved against the Redskins that he is mobile enough to extend plays. Cutler's success this season resulted partly from the quality supporting cast with which the Bears surrounded him, and McCown should similarly benefit. Marshall, receiver Alshon Jeffery, tight end Martellus Bennett and running back Matt Forte present him with options. Meanwhile, Trestman's scheme has done well exploiting the personnel's versatility.,0,6532546.story
  2. Jimmors

    Jimmors Get Schwifty
    Staff Member

    Sep 24, 2005
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    3.Can't get any worse
  3. MrDynamite32

    MrDynamite32 Veteran

    Aug 16, 2013
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    1. Not a chance
    2. Blitzing with the LBs is the only option for now.
    3. Could get worse if things don't change soon.
    4. I hope so
    5. I hope so.
  4. strockrocks

    strockrocks Veteran

    Aug 3, 2013
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    1. No way
    2. Bass steps up out of nowhere and gets 7 sacks the next 2 games.
    3) The players start fighting on the sidelines. It could get ugly.
    4. Probably
    5. Possibly
  5. riczaj01

    riczaj01 George Halas
    Member of the Month DBS Writer

    Nov 4, 2006
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    Birthday CakeBandaid
    1) wat?
    2) not w/out blitzing lb's which further exposes your db's.
    3) i bet no D player is "buying in" to the system they wanted to keep.
    4) why wouldn't he?
    5) if you mean like what he did coming in cold against a team w/no real film on him, no. If you mean don't screw it up, hopefully but if the past is any indicator, it's not looking good.

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