First things first, I'd like express my undying gratitude to WGC for being quite possibly the biggest positive distraction for me during the long work week. The Sean Jenson Q&A was a thing of beauty, and I'd like to applaud Dane and company for bringing it to fruition this afternoon. Another win for Bear fans everwhere; even if the real team doesn't bring home a victory this Sunday. Never!
Observations on the offense:
As we all know coming into the season, the biggest concern is the run-blocking of the O-line (I'd sure love to see the professor make a play for Mankins!). The pass-blocking isn't much better, but if the receivers continue to run good routes Jay should reward them with nice fluid throws within the confines of this timing offense. If not, Jay has shown a willingness to take off and run in order to pick up positive yards. I have to believe Martz's tutoring has had an impact in this area. Last year he seemed reluctant to scramble even though defenses were daring him to on every dropback. Hopefully this is something we see with great frequency throughout the season. There's nothing more beneficial than keeping opposing defenses honest.
The offense will be hampered all day by Dallas' suffocating pressure from their front seven. With the likes of Ware, aka superman himself (Dwight Howard has nothing on this beast), Cutler will be hard-pressed to avoid errors throwing the ball. Expect another steady dose of outside screens and delayed draws to help counter their speed and help hide the Bears suspect O-line. Clark, Olsen, and Davis may see an increased role catching the ball out of the H-back role because of the increased pressure on the edges. I have a difficult time believing that 7-step drops will work out well against their front seven.
Observation for the defense:
It's being reported by many outlets that nickleback DJ Moore will be in the spotlight come gametime. The secondary will have its hands full with Austin, so naturally the second and third options should be open for Romo. Peppers is as advertised, but will a second D-linemen step up their play? Tommie, I'm looking at you while stabbing myself with a sausage of any variety (does it really matter?) in extreme frustration! Mr. Anderson has a grand opportunity going up against Alex Barron who committed three holding penalties last week, or the very rusty ex-Bear Marc Columbo. Major Wright got his feet wet in the opener and Steltz is almost at full strength; DMS and Harris better level up their play or they may ride the pine in the near future. Is there anything bad to say about the play of our stud LBs? Just two words come to mind....pure dominance.
I fully expect Dallas to concentration on their three-headed monster at RB. With their woes up front, Barber may be called to help "soften up" the Bears line. Jones will provide the speed in their version of a thunder and lightning attack. Play-action will be the name of the game for their passing assault. It's up to Hot Rod and company to adjust right off the bat- call off the dogs a bit to help offset their power running game. Peppers is capable to recognize this, but is Anderson? Otherwise, we may see a safety in the box quicker than a hot knife through butter. This will be the biggest key to the ballgame in my mind, because Austin will score at least once if the game transpires this way. With that said, the great play and speed of the LBs will help fill the proverbial gaps in containing their ground game.
Edge- Bears (disclaimer- as long as the cover-3 isn't called against Austin with a lead of 6 points or less).
I'm not trying to skimp the 3rd phase because I don't think it's important, but instead I believe it will be the status quo. Hester hasn't been a game changer as a punt returner seemingly forever, and Dallas has never been known to excel in this area.
Bears 20-17. The winning FG will come as a result of late game turnover by none other DMS. No seriously, I'm being serious.
Here are some more matches of the Match Game. I created a post a couple of months ago based on comparing song lyrics to Bears players.
Lovie Smith in love with the Tampa-2 -"Hold you in my arms" - Ray LaMontagne
So now we see how it is
This fist begets the spear
Weapons of war
Symptoms of madness
Don't let your eyes refuse to see
Don't let your ears refuse to hear
Or you ain't never going to shake this sense of sadness
I could hold you in my arms
I could hold on forever
And I could hold you in my arms
I could hold on forever
Devin Hester- "Speed Law" - Mos Def
They form a huddle
Whisper like they want trouble
I melt the ice grills into rainwater puddles
Make the proud-hearted leave on the humble
Black steel in the hour
Assemble my skill form my power
Jay Cutler- "Estimated Prophet" - Grateful Dead
My time coming any day, don't worry 'bout me, no
Been so long I felt this way, I'm in no hurry no
Rainbows end down that highway where ocean breezes blow
My time coming, voices saying, they tell me where to go
Don't you worry 'bout me--oh no no, don't worry 'bout me, no
And I'm in no hurry--oh no no no, I know where to go
The Honey Bears- "Ain't No Sunshine" - Bill Whithers
Wonder this time where she's gone,
Wonder if she's gone to stay
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
And this house (Soldier's Field) just ain't no home anytime she goes away.
Let's be 2-0....go Bears!