Over the next few days leading up to the big game, I will look a little into the opposing team and see what the fans think about their players. I’m starting with the Chicago Bears offense, which has hit a major rough patch recently.
My Take: This is one of the weakest positions out of any team in the league. Kyle Orton has apparently been redeemed somehow for his pathetic rookie season. Orton started 15 games in his first season, and he was terrible. The team was great, but he was holding them back. He had a 59.7 QB rating, 9 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and a 51.6% completion percentage. Even his starts last year weren’t impressive. He only had a 73.9 QB rating. However, I have heard positive things about him, which surprises me. I would have thought Bears fans might not be so optimistic, but a lot of the talk has come from the ESPN “experts”, who would like nothing more than to see the Colts go down early.
Rex Grossman could have been the MVP of Super Bowl XLI, because he was clearly trying to lose the game. There is no other explanation to why he played so poorly. I would have liked to see him start. I’m sure that he sees Kelvin Hayden and Bob Sanders in his nightmares.
I know nothing about Caleb Hanie. I don’t even know where he went to school until I checked Wikipedia (it’s Colorado State). However, the Bears bloggers have been drooling over them, but I think anyone would look good after having Rex Grossman, Brian Griese, and Kyle Orton be the starting QBs for the past couple of years. Here is what Bear Goggle says about Hanie.
Hanie finishes the preseason completing 29 of 49 passes for 321 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Those may not be remarkable numbers but it doesn’t speak to his ability to evade the pass rush and work effectively in the pocket. He is the complete opposite of Rex Grossman in every way. He looks calm and cool on the pocket, slips away from defenders, and finds the short pass instead of throwing long bombs into coverage.
I have to remember that Hanie was starting against other third string defenders and it isn’t a true test of his ability. However, having good mechanics makes it irrelevant if it’s the third team or the first team offense. A quarterback that can actually function as a quarterback and control the pocket is a good person to have on this team.
It sounds like he is a good all-around QB. I’m glad he isn’t starting.
Jason McKie (Fullback)
My take: This year, the Bears don’t have great running backs. In a few years, they will be great. Matt Forte was a player that the Colts were hoping to get in the NFL Draft. We are content with Mike Hart, but Forte is a very good back. However, he is too young to be the starter right now. In a few years, he could be a Pro Bowler. Right now, I’m not worried.
Adrian Peterson is the mediocre one, not the Pro Bowl one in Minnesota. The Bears could use someone like the good Peterson. This Peterson only averaged 3.4 yards per carry last season, and the Bears suffered with him in the game.
Kevin Jones had a great rookie year in Detroit, gaining over 1,000 rushing yards. After that, he went on a downward spiral. He had a career low 581 yards last season and only had a 3.8 ypc average.
Garrett Wolfe was amazing at Northern Illnois, but you can’t expect him to turn out to be great in the pros. Some small running backs end up being successful like Maurice Jones-Drew, but Wolfe is 5-7, 186 pounds.
My Take: These wide receivers are terrible. None of them are starting material. A very optimistic Bears fan, MuleTrain, on Windy City Gridiron tried to make this a good thing by saying it will make a good rotation. I disagree, as fresh legs do not equal good hands, which the Bears lack.
We have a wr by committee thing going on, and most of these guys can run. Booker cannot obviously. By rotating guys in and out, we won’t see tired legs so much. Randy Moss dogs it, so don’t think other wr’s out there don’t dog it when their decoy fly pattern is called. We have 5 #3 receivers, so any dogging will lead one to the bench I imagine.
I don’t agree with MuleTrain on Randy Moss. Moss played tough with the Patriots, even in the fourth quarter when they were up by 30. Earl Bennett should be a good receiver, but Hester drops too many big passes, and Lloyd, Booker, and Bradley all have been mediocre the past few years.
My Take: I might want to call this MuleTrain’s take because he said it the best. He’s definitely an optimist, but I can agree with him here.
Our strength on offense is obviously our tight ends. We have 3 capable of making plays. Tight ends need some room in the middle of the field to be really effective. In order to achieve this, I’m thinking we are going to see a steady stream of wr’s going deep.
Also, the cover 2 scheme is quite popular throughout the league. When a receiver goes deep a safety will be vacated from covering the deep middle, thus creating some space for the TE. Most teams don’t have an Urlacher that can effectively and consistently cover the deep middle. For other defensive schemes, teams are still loathe to give up big plays. Any wr going deep will probably encounter safety help, thus creating room as well.
He is right about the Cover 2 when the opposing team has a weak middle linebacker. The 3-4 is especially weak against tight ends. The only problem is, we have a Brian Urlacher in pass coverage. His name is Gary Brackett. Even though he is short and resembles a fire-hydrant, he is one of the best middle linebackers, if not THE best linebacker, in pass coverage. Greg Olsen, Desmond Clark, and Kellen Davis all will be big contributors for the Bears, but it should be more effective against teams like Dallas and not Indianapolis.
OT Chris Williams
OT John Tait
OT Kirk Barton
OT John St. Clair
OG Roberto Garza
OG Dan Buenning
OG Josh Beekman
OG Terrence Metcalf
C Olin Kreutz
The Bears have a troubled offensive tackle position. Chris Williams has had surgery and will miss the game. John Tait is getting older every minute, and he will have trouble stopping someone like Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, or Marcus Howard, who are much younger and quicker. John St. Clair and Kirk Barton aren’t anything special either. The Colts have the definite advantage in the pass rush for this game.
The interior line is a completely different story. Center Olin Kreutz and right guard Roberto Garza are both Pro Bowl caliber linemen. As long as the Spanish Madden Curse doesn’t affect Garza, the defensive tackles should have a tough time this game. Left guard is less secure. Terrence Metcalf has been the starter, but he is easily the weakest link on the interior line.
So far, the Colts defense clearly has the advantage on the Bears offense. The QBs are awful. The running backs are too young. The wide receivers are all #3s, the tight ends will struggle against Gary Brackett, and the tackles will get burned by Freeney, Mathis, and Howard all game long.
I’m predicting that Kyle Orton will throw 2 interceptions. Antoine Bethea and Gary Brackett will both pick off Orton. Marcus Howard will get 1.5 sacks, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis will get one sack, and Curtis Johnson will get the half sack. The backups will be in during the fourth quarter, and the Bears should score 10 points in it. The Colts will be up by three or four scores, so it won’t affect the game.