Here is episode 2 of the Bears Link Podcast! For those of you who like a transcript, here you go!
Look out for a special guest in the second half...
Hello Bears fans, and welcome to The Bears Link Podcast!
I know, this is not the same name that it was last week. I was asked to change the name due to Monster on the Mic being too similar to another name. But if you subscribe to the WCG podcasts on iTunes or on Google Play, then you don’t need to do anything, you are still subscribed.
The Bears are playing in Miami this Sunday, Mitch is keeping the sleeve on, and the Bears are almost completely healthy…let’s go!!!
Since there wasn’t a game this past week, there isn’t a whole lot to dissect per se, so I am going to focus on the upcoming game against the Dolphins.
First things first, for those of you who missed the injury report as of the recording of this podcast, which happens to be Thursday evening, then here is the rundown:
Marcus Cooper did not participate and I wouldn’t expect him to play. This isn’t an injury that I am wringing my hands over personally.
Limited in practice was Prince Amukamara and Eric Kush. If you watch my Bears Link Film Study videos or follow me on Twitter, you know that I have an affinity for guard James Daniels. Personally, I thought he should have been playing from the start of the season. But with this injury to Eric Kush and the signing of guard Bryan Witzmann, this seems like the perfect opportunity for Daniels to take hold of the starting left guard job.
My guess is that Kush is inactive on Sunday and we see either Bradley Sowell or Witzmann come off the bench in an emergency.
Amukamara has been practicing on a limited basis since the injury, so this is going to be something to monitor on game day. If I had to guess, I would say that he sits another week. While the hamstring might be healed enough to play with, the heat and humidity in Miami is usually hellish on muscles, especially leg muscles. Best to play it safe with the Patriots coming to town.
The other thing to consider with the Amukamara injury is the fact that Miami is 18th in offensive DVOA, according to Football Outsiders, and 19th in passing DVOA. So not exactly a juggernaut. More interesting thought is the fact that Kevin Toliver has played well in roughly a game and a half. At this point, I am expecting both Daniels and Toliver to start.
A name that is no longer on the injury report is rookie wide receiver Anthony Miller. Clearly the Bears didn’t struggle to pass against the Bucs without Miller, but I would still feel better knowing that he is on the field. I would expect to see his snaps be somewhat limited, but still see a few targets this week. Don’t be surprised to see him work downfield a little bit more. Matt Nagy has shown the ability to use his tendencies to gain an advantage over his opponents. Miller is only averaging about 6 yards of depth per route run, look to see the Bears exploit that trend.
This is going to be an interesting match-up for the Bears. Miami has a good defense statistically this year, but it might not be what people think. They are 5th in overall DVOA, 5th against the pass, and 9th against the run. But when you look at the numbers, it actually looks like they are tougher to run on than pass. There are a lot of folks that believe that Jordan Howard will get 10-25 carries this week, but I don’t see that happening.
Miami’s pass defense is skewed by the fact that they have 10 interceptions, but interceptions aren’t always what they seem. There were a lot of tipped passes and very poorly thrown balls included in that number. Outside of Robert Quin, the Dolphins also don’t have a great pass rush. I would expect them to blitz the Bears heavily, as we saw teams do in the first 3 weeks of the season. It will be up to Nagy and Mitch Trubisky to make them pay for it.
The place where the Bears have the biggest advantage here is on defense. The Dolphins offensive line is hurting, undermanned, and frankly, not very good. The Bears have, well the Bears have Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and a host of others who love to harass quarterbacks.
Perhaps even better than a porous offensive line, is the fact that Ryan Tannehill will throw the ball up for grabs if pressured. Just go ahead and watch last week’s game against the Bengals…woof. You know whose defensive front is better than the Bengals? Yeah, that’s right. Our is!
Needless to say, I am picking the Bears to win this game. It will not be a gimme by any means, but I do think that they Bears come out victorious. My official prediction for this game is 27-17 Bears, and I am sticking to that.
I have a special segment that, cross my fingers, is going to be a regular part of the show. I was able to spend a few minutes talking about the history of the Bears and Dolphins match-up with WCG’s own: the venerable Jack Silverstein.
So without further ado, let’s hear from Jack!
I just want to thank Jack again for coming on the podcast and for his time.
He was a little angry after doing research about this match-up. In case you missed it, Jack shared all of that fine research on WCG and it’s called: How the Miami Dolphins became our existential threat.
This is an awesome read, so I suggest you check it out. Well, that’s going to do it for this week’s episode of The Bears Link Podcast. Make sure that you check out all of the latest happenings on Windy City Gridiron as well as following me on Twitter @BearsLink82 and checking out The Bears Link Film Study on YouTube, which is also posted on WCG.
And always remember to Bear Down!