Three Keys Against the Broncos: Offense

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 04: Marion Barber #24 of the Chicago Bears shakes off a tackle attempt by Jon McGraw #47 of the Kansas City Chiefs at Soldier Field on December 4, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Chiefs defeated the Bears 10-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

1) Rely on the Two Running Backs Left... That Includes Bell

With Matt Forte injured, it falls on Marion Barber and Kahlil Bell to shoulder the running load. Granted, however, the two backs each do far different things - Barber as the power rusher and Bell, who can do some of the same things Forte can, but not quite what Forte can. Thusly, Bell should be used in similar fashion, especially on screens and swings - while he may not get the big yardage plays Forte can in that role, he can do enough to keep the defense honest (for a reason I'm suggesting Bell, consider Forte with his 52 receptions this year is more than Barber's last three seasons combined). Barber can pick up his yardage rushing up the middle and help out in blitz pickup.

2) The Passing Game Must Improve In ALL FACETS.

... Did I emphasize that clearly enough? I don't think so.

The bottom line is, Hanie, the receivers and the offensive line had what can only be slightly understated (if I want to keep my front-page editor/moderator job) as an awful day. Lance Louis can't be charged with five sacks. Roy Williams can't drop a touchdown pass right in his hands. Caleb Hanie can't overthrow a wide-open Earl Bennett. Johnny Knox can't outrun a deep ball and get undercut in his route. Above all, Hanie needs to make his reads quicker and deliver the ball when he needs to, not fifteen seconds after. If Hanie's struggling with his reads, get him out of the pocket and reduce his reads.

3) Know where Von Miller is At All Times

I kind of mentioned this in point one with regards to blitz pick-up, but it's really thematic of Miller and his use in the defensive scheme. Miller is a playmaker who gets pretty much free reign to attack where he thinks is the weakest spot, and he's not some glorified rush end like Clay Matthews or DeMarcus Ware. In his eleven games, he's got 10.5 sacks, leading the team. And given the glut of playmakers employed in the pass rush, he won't be alone - Elvis Dumervil has come on strong this year with six and a half sacks, and three other players have eight combined sacks on the blitz. Keeping the pass rush off Hanie will be a big deal in this game - if the Bears allow another seven sacks, um, this just in, they probably will not win.

Bonus) Get Ahead!

It's always harder to run your offensive system when you have to fight uphill. In the Bears' case, getting ahead of the Broncos early and tacking on points could force the Broncos, playing from behind, to play a pass-heavy system, something they haven't done since before Tebow started. Tebow can throw the ball, but so far, not for dependable passing numbers in a deep deficit situation. I understand this is dependent on Hanie and the Bears offense putting points up without their two best playmakers in Cutler and Forte, but if they're going to derail this Broncos train, eventually, the offense's collective head must be removed from their collective arse.

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