This Sunday, the secondary will be tested against the Donovan McNabb led offense. So you're probably wondering why I think that during this game, we will really see where this secondary is at compared to the past weeks where they faced the likes of Romo, Rodgers, and Eli Manning. McNabb takes more shots down the field then any other QB in the league, and he leads the NFL in completions of 40+ yards. If you are a football fan you know these types of plays can sometimes suck the life out of a defense and change the momentum of the game. The Safety play so far this season has been pretty good with Manning and Harris back there. Danieal Manning has been stellar at the SS position and looks to have finally set in on a position. Chris Harris has been a solid leader back there at FS helping Brian Urlacher get the secondary in good position to defend the pass.
Although the Bears have faced better receiving crews over the past months than the Redskins, the Redskins do have some burners at the position that will test the range of this secondary. Yes this is a game where you can have some worries, but it's also a game where a guy like Danieal Manning can have a breakout game because of the number of opportunities he would have to make plays on the ball. This week's WCG Key match-up will focus on the Bears Secondary against the Redskins vertical attack.
Usually you want your best corner lined up against the team's best receiver, but I feel Jennings' quickness and speed matches up best with Santana on the outside. Unlike Bowman, Jennings has the closing speed that you want from a tampa-2 corner and that explains why he is starting in front of Bowman. Yes, Lovie likes to play his corners a little bit off the receiver, but he expects his corners to have good closing speed to break up passes or stop receivers for short gains. Moss is a very good receiver; but I have confidence in Jennings' ability to contain the vet.
Charles Tillman had a rough week last Sunday against Mike Williams which is surprising since Tillman usually has success against possession receivers like that. This week, he will face a pair of vertical threats in Anthony Armstrong and Joey Galloway. I will look for Tillman to be physical with Armstrong and make it uncomfortable for the 1st year wideout to get open.
NB D.J. Moore vs. Santana Moss
Moore will have a tough job this Sunday when Redskins come out in a 3 WR formation with Moss in the slot. At the same time, I said this in my week 2 match-up posts against Dallas and Moore ended up coming away from the game with 2 interceptions against much tougher competition in Miles Austin. The Bears defense needs Moore to show some of those ball hawking skills this Sunday.
SS Danieal Manning and FS Chris Harris
Manning will be tested often against McNabb, so he has a chance to have a break out game defensive-wise. Look for Manning to help Jennings with over the top help against Moss and for Manning to make some plays out of the Cover-3 and other zone coverages the Bears like to run. Harris might have the much tougher job of the two as he will be relied on to play centerfield when the Marinelli brings Manning down to blitz and for run support. The Safeties have to have one of their best games of the season or it can be a long day for the defense.