CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 16: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears makes a play against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on October 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis /Getty Images)
1) Pump Up The Jam. ... Then blow it up.
That's right. I went there.
The Bucs have gone away from their straight-up Tampa 2 and into more of a man defense, with lots of jams at the line and tight coverage. That's the thing corners have to do against the speedy little guys - knock them off their routes, slow them down and disrupt their timing. The problem, of course, is that the primary members of the Bears' receiving corps are "speedy little guys."
So there's two things I want here. One, and I can't believe I'm going to be saying this... Roy Williams needs to show up. Of the receivers, Williams might have the best opportunities against this jam scheme. The second is Johnny Knox, who bulked up this offseason to handle jams better and make tough catches. Whether he's able to fight off a jam remains to be seen. That aside, look for Sanzenbacher, Clutts and Forte on the short passes, which aren't as dependent on breaking the jam to make the play.
2) Protect Jay Cutler.
It wouldn't be a "keys" article without this one. The Bucs have a young, highly drafted front four, which has accounted for six of the Bucs' ten sacks this season. It's not a team that puts a ton of pressure on the quarterback. That being said, the Bears have had worse units do much better against the offensive line, so while we won't see as much max protect as we did last week, we'll still probably see a share of it.
3) Drive Methodically Down The Field
The Bucs don't really have anything in their defensive unit that's excellent against anything - they're 26th against the pass with the 29th net yards per attempt (7.6), and 18th against the run with the 19th yards per carry (4.4). That means teams are generally able to just march up and down the field using all available tools. And these teams aren't even utilizing the big play - the Bucs have allowed at least 20 first downs to every team except the Colts. This includes the Vikings' 25 in week 2. The Bears have only had 20 first downs in two of their six games... But it was the last two. I'd like for this to continue - shorten the down and distance, know where the sticks are, make the play.