NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 18: Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the New Orleans Saints tackles Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears at the Louisiana Superdome on September 18, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Bears 30-13. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
All week we heard that the Bears need to run the ball, the Bears need to be more balanced in their offensive attack, Martz needs to have his canoots removed, et cetera, et cetera. This comes as the Bears go against a defense that ranks last against the pass this early in the season.
There's arguments for and against the call for balance - obviously the Bears don't need to call a run for every pass in order to win. But it isn't so much the balance for the sake of balance, it's balance to keep the offense unpredictable. Let's take a look past the jump and I'll explain a bit.
First off, the Packers' defensive ranks are something of a red herring this early in the season. The Packers have faced 95 pass attempts between the Saints and Panthers - 49 throws from the Saints and 46 from the Fig Newtons. Of those 95 attempts, 4 have ended up in the end zone, three from the arm of Drew Brees - I hear he's pretty good. Compare to that they've faced the fifth fewest rushes in the league with 42, and it gives the impression of a defense that is vulnerable through the air.
Now, the Saints and Panthers ran the ball 21 times apiece in comparison to their 40+ throws, so it isn't like they're using a balanced offense either. But offense is more than just the overall end-of-game pass-run distribution - if you score four touchdowns on twenty passes in the first half and run twenty times in the second half to protect the lead, were you balanced? After all it was 20-20... No. And we know the Bears can score with the pass. It's more about when those plays are called. Of course, not letting yourself fall behind badly and getting laser sights drawn on your quarterback also helps.
Sometimes plays are run to set up other plays, and sometimes not - but just because something isn't working, it's not a reason to toss it aside. I hope we see a few more draws or delays mixed in the gameplan this week.