I was watching ESPN SportsNation yesterday and a topic came up about who has had the most impressive start to the season: Bears or Packers? My mind went blah when Michelle Beadle was talking, but what Colin Cowherd had to say about our Receivers caught my attention and got under my skin. After calling the Bears a flawed team and saying we have a bad offensive line (well deserved criticism by the way), he went on to add that the Bears receiving corps was "weak". I understand that we don't have household names at the positions, but to call them weak is a little too much. I'm pretty sure Mike Jenkins and Terrence Newman of the Cowboys are not calling them weak, and those two are pretty good starting corners.
This week's match-up post will focus on the wide receivers and tight ends versus the Packers secondary. Monday Night Football in front of the national media, the stage is set for this young receiving crew to quiet the Colin Cowherds of the world who think they are "weak" and can't compete at a high level in this league. The Cowboys defensive backs are really good, but the Packers defensive backs are tough and always play the Bears receivers physically (sometimes too physically where they can get away with pass interference calls). This match-up will tell us a lot about our Wide Receiving Corps.
WR1- Devin Hester vs. Charles Woodson
Hester had a really good game last week against a pretty good veteran corner in Terrence Newman. Can he have a repeat performance against last year's defensive player of the year in Charles Woodson? Woodson is very good at jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage while the book on Hester is that he has a tough time fighting off of it. This can disrupt the timing of the offense, especially in the Martz Coryell offense that puts a big emphasis on timing. Hester had a very good game last Sunday, but we need our #1 receiver to raise his game to a next level against one of the better corners in the league.
WR2- Johnny Knox vs. Tramon Williams
I like this match-up in favor of Knox. Watching Williams, he seems to have many flaws in his game that a good receiver can take advantage of. He's not as good as his teammate in press coverage, inconsistent in his technique, and he likes to hold receivers when he feels like he is beat. Like I said in the opening of this post, this game will tell us a lot about our receivers, and if Knox struggles against Williams, it will tell me where Knox is at in his development. You want to be a big time receiver in this league; you have to take advantage of match-ups you are favor in. Bears fans should have good expectations for Knox in this game against Tramon Williams.
WR3- Earl Bennett/Devin Aromashodu/Devin Hester vs. Sam Shields
Packers fans and coaches like the first year player Sam Shields playmaking ability on the ball, but this will be a match-up that Martz and Cutler will try to exploit by throwing different looks at the 1st year player. Earl Bennett is a good route runner and might be a bit stronger than Shields, Aromashodu has the size advantage over him, and Hester has the advantage to where he can get a clean release off the line of scrimmage and utilize his speed and quickness. We will see if Martz throws a lot of different looks at the 1st year player.
TE- Greg Olsen vs. Packers Linebackers and Safeties
This is a wash of a match-up, because although Olsen is a big fast tight end, I like the range the Packers linebacking corps has with Brandon Chillar, Nick Barnett, and Brad Jones. Olsen has to use his speed and athleticism to his advantage against the Packers linebackers. His size against Safety Morgan Burnett should be an advantage, but not against Collins whose size, speed, and athleticism match-up well against Tight-Ends.
HB- Matt Forte vs. Packers Linebackers
Forte needs to continue hurting linebackers with his receiving skills out in the backfield. The way Martz is using Matt Forte this season is something I wanted to see since his rookie season, but creativity and Ron Turner don't go together like Ketchup on a Chicago style hot-dog. We should expect Martz to motion Forte out the backfield and test the Packer's linebackers' ability to play man to man coverage against a dual threat like Forte. Chester Taylor should also factor in the passing game especially on 3rd downs when Jay needs that safety net to keep the drive alive.