Chicago Sun-Times

Jaguars recap: Orton turnaround what Bears needed

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The Bears have the quick turnaround this week with their first ever home appearance on NFL Network Thursday against New Orleans.

Four days to prepare for the next game is never easy for any club but the Bears' home-field advantage could be magnified here and we're not even going to bother getting in to the overdone story regarding the weather and how cold it could be come kickoff at Soldier Field. New Orleans is a completely different team away from the Superdome. The Saints are 1-5 on the road and that poor record away from home will be put further to the test in this meeting.

Players and coaches are in meetings today reviewing the 23-10 victory over Jacksonville and laying a little groundwork for the gameplan this week. There will be a regular practice Tuesday and then a walk-through Wednesday. That's it. Before we move forward, some quick thoughts on the game Sunday:

*** The only thing that would have been better for the Bears than a victory by Detroit on Sunday was the return to form of Kyle Orton. He looked sharp and would have been even sharper had his receivers not suffered from a case of the dropsies. Orton made one bad throw the entire game and had command. Yes, the offense stunk in the second half with four three-and-punts, but the game was over. It was 20-3 and the Jaguars had packed it in. Those clamoring about the poor performance in the second half need to realize Jacksonville never got back into that game.

*** Mark Anderson registered his first sack of the season and the first full sack he's had in 24 regular-season games. Anderson is a humble, hard worker and if sacks do come in bunches, maybe he has a few waiting for him. I'm not sure there's been a real sign that Anderson is due to break out, however. He did have a solid game at St. Louis but at this point you have to wonder where it all went wrong when he was forced into the starting lineup last season.

*** This Danieal Manning experiment as the kickoff returner looks like it is going to become a permanent thing. He should have caught the one kickoff that bounced in front of him--wind could not have been a factor--but his shot-out-of-a-cannon approach has breathed some life into the return game.

*** Everybody catch that stiff arm Maurice Jones-Drew delivered to Mike Brown along the Jaguars' sideline? Watching the Bears every week it's tough to see much of Jones-Drew in action. He is a talented back.

*** The field-position woes that haunted the Bears in the past month were turned on Jacksonville by punter Brad Maynard. He's got a knack for performing well in bad weather.

*** So if the rib injury to Marty Booker sidelines him, and we've seen him come back from a lot of injuries in his first stay with the Bears, does rookie third-round pick Earl Bennett get a chance or will it go to Brandon Rideau? Rideau certainly did more on the field in preseason and there's got to be an explanation for why the coaching staff is so hesitant to deploy Bennett. One reason cannot be because of the production of the unit as a whole, even though the coaching staff will try to sell you that. It has to come down to they have simply not felt comfortable putting him on the field on offense.

*** Maybe the Bears pulled the trigger on Darrell McClover's season a little early. The linebacker was placed on injured reserve two weeks ago with a pulled hamstring. He said he probably could have played Sunday when he left the locker room after the game. He'd be mighty useful now with Garrett Wolfe hobbled by a hamstring injury of his own. As much as Wolfe was limping afterward, it would be no surprise if he misses the final three games. Putting McClover down could prove to be a miscalculation.

*** The Dusty Dvoracek supporters were given something to consider for the second straight week when Anthony Adams looked like a starting-quality defensive tackle. Adams has turned in 14 tackles in the last two weeks, a figure to be adjusted when coaches' review of the action comes out later today. The only reason imaginable he wasn't used earlier by a defense in need was because he didn't have draft status in these parts.

*** Cornerback Corey Graham quietly had another strong outing. He's looking better and better every week and now comes perhaps his biggest test with the Saints marching in.

*** Discipline, or lack of it, was an issue earlier in the season for the Bears. All you have to do is recall back to the disastrous outing vs. Tampa Bay. But the Bears had just one penalty for five yards against the Jaguars and have 23 in their last six games. That's not bad.

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12 Comments

It was a good win, but you still have to wonder about the play calling by Turner in the third quarter, even the announcers for the game were wondering. A 20-3 lead at half time could have been overcome particularly when the Jags scored and it became a 10 point lead with a quarter to go. Three passes and out took about a minute off the clock and all of the other play calls seemed so conservative.

Turner to his credit did call some good and aggressive plays in the fourth quarter that seemed to pull the offense out of the bucket.

Please keep the tight ends in the game plan and the D looked pretty good yesterday, they may still have a shot if they run the table.
Congrats to the D line for the pass rush, Anderson great spin move to get to the QB. We all hope the dominant D is back to stay.

It is too bad that the Lions did not kick the two field goals on the two fourth and one situations when they were stuffed, it could have won the game for them against the Vikings.

Congratulations to the Bears for a good win.

Yeah, I feel this Thursday we will see for real. Win out would be nice, but I am not sure how far we would go in the playoffs. Teams can peak at odd times the Colts are peaking now even with their injuries just like in 2005/6. In looking at our sched. we could go 3-0 but as you said dahlillama Turners play calls are something out of the twilight zone.
Do we go for playoffs and bad draft pick or no playoffs and great pick? Guess we will know Thursday huh?

Kyle Orton's return to form? Eh, I thought he was alright but he could have been better. He's played better than this.

I have to disagree with you Brad on letting the second half performance slide. That's how we lose games like Tampa, Carolina, and the Giants last year. It could have been another fourth quarter struggle had The Jags' fullback not dropped a wide open 4th down pass. I thought Ron Turner had turned a leaf from the previous seasons but he's still a clown who starts juggling his playbooks in situations where we have a lead. Anyone follow the Ravens this year? They have mediocre talent on offense, but Cam Cameron's play-calling actually makes them better. Our guy takes the talent we have and makes them worse.

-I would reiterate my frustration with McClover being placed on IR for Terrence Metcalf but MsBearsfan can't take the intensity of an angry blog entry. Supposedly it raises his blood pressure. Perhaps he works as a librarian?

-Maybe D. Manning is finally proving his worth?

-Adams has always been a consistent hardworker who, like Idonije, flies under the radar.

Can't imagine losing to the Saints this Thursday. We've killed their playoff hopes two consecutive years in a row and it's satisfying to know how we've owned their team. But I'm sure vengeance is on New Orleans'mind and they can't afford to lose this game or their playoff hopes will, for the third time, be erased by the Bears!

Great win....sucky opponent. I think Vasher and Dusty just lost their jobs. Hey, I played receiver in high school, can I have a tryout?

Man that is good news about Orton! I had to catch the game on the radio this week and it was hard to tell if he was sharp or not. The offense as a whole didn't do much, especially in the second half.

They talked about several dropped passes. What's the deal with Davis dropping so many passes? He wasn't always open, but usually caught it when he had the chance. Hester is doing about what I expected, and that would be enough if one more receiver would step up.

The offense can't just do nothing. If they could just make a few first downs and reverse field position occasionally, the defense looks like it will now give them enough short fields to score and win the game.

Mike let'r rip. All I meant before was that, although the transactions were flip-flopped on paper, it wasn't really Metcalf for McClover. It was Metcalf for Miller and Rideau for McClover. The roster moves were on the same day.

As it turned out, you were right about putting McClover on IR. Well maybe. Saying, "I could have played", in the locker room is not quite the same as a full sprint on a sore hammy covering a punt or kickoff.

You are also right about worrying about New Orleans. The Saints are getting some injured guys back in pocket too.

That's all for now, gotta go see Dewey about a decimal.

Has Orton turned it around??

The Jags have one of the worst pass rushes in the league and one of the worst secondaries in the league and even that was missing it's best player. Orton still threw a pick and he looked bad doing it. His numbers were good but only good against this team. To be fare, the WR drop passes like they are trying to set a record.

Again the Bears came out and played sloppy, this is a real bad team on a short week on the road. Consistant play
seems to be a real probelm for them. Forte did not have a good second Half and the offense went bye bye.

Biggs everyone caught that stiff are Jones-Drew is fun to watch. I wish the Bears had a two back system with a little bowling ball like that. OR AT LEAST TWO BACKS???

Well here come the Saints, the real good news about that is the Bears have Beaten the Saints twice in a row and the Saints don't travel well, with only one win on the road this season. Although most of there losses have been close games.

The Bad while there D is nothing special, there offense is pretty good, despite the belief that they can't run the ball, Thomas is a decent running back. Brees has only been sacked 10 times this year and there Oline is big and Nasty. It should be interesting to see how the Bears match up with them.

I would give the edge to the Bears.

People also need to stop overlooking Texas and the Pack. They both match up better than the Saints.

Biggs it's sad but true about Adams, he should have been playing if not starting for this team along time ago. Now if that Lovie or Angelo I don't know but it seems to be a common problem on this team. Rookies also seem to have this problem. Just look at Beekman, not a great player but better than what they had and he never dressed before this year and if Metcalf had not gotten hurt he may not have have played this year.

Biggest worry. Is Arizona going to play hard this week? They just clinched so could there be a let down. Also if the Bears beat the Saints will the Pack look to play spoiler on a team that will probably be playing tight?

Almost forgot, the Saints have a OG named Carl Nicks playing for them he was taken in the 5th round with the 29th selection. Lots of people here were screaming for the Bears to pick this guy. We took Bowman instead. Nicks has started 10 games and looked pretty good, nothing against Garza or Beekman but he is better than both of them and has the size the Bears could really use on the inside 6-5 340 and athletic. Just saying it would be nice in the cold to have some size on the line or in I don't know a goaline stand situation.

Kyle Orton did look pretty good yesterday, with all the dropped passes he still completed 59.0% of his passes, thats still a good day, you have to figure, if even two or three of them drops were caught, Orton's completion percentage would have been up in the 60's, not to mention a few more yards on his 219 he had passing. I think Orton is now finally getting over that ankle injury, this was the main reason the Bears passing games was in such a funk the last couple of weeks.

I agree, Danieal Manning has added a spark to the Bears kickoff return game, I guess the lack of blocking that plagued Hester, for some mysterious reason, has had no effect on Manning's game? No, I think the fact Hester is now on the field a lot more at receiver, running routes up and down the field, is the number one reason Hesters return game took such a nose dive, putting Manning at kickoff return was a good move on the Bears part, if you remember, back during the pre-season, Manning looked pretty good returning the ball, with all the bad blocking that has plagued Hester, heck, he even took one to the house. In the end, asking a player to go out and play receiver, running routes up and down the field, then come back on the field and return the ball, is simply asking way to much of a players body. Hester was a special return man, but the guy is only human. I almost think, maybe not this season, but next year, replace Hester at punt return also. This way, not only because of the physical effect on Hesters body, but so Hester can concentrate on playing receiver, this could even make Hester a better receiver.

Also, next season, its going to be hard to keep Corey Graham out of the starting lineup, Graham might be something special in another season GO BEARS!!

Kev, I have to disagree with you on Hester's slump. I mean, look at the Saints' Reggie Bush. He's in on offense as a hybrid RB/receiver, does a good deal of running and takes a good deal of punishment at RB. And he's returning punts just fine. The same goes for Pierre Thomas.

The Jags' Jones-Drew is a full time RB and they have him return kicks at times which he's pretty good at it. Wes Welker returns punts, Pacman does the same while playing CB, Tedd Ginn Jr. etc. etc. etc!

And our own #38 is the starting nickelback for the Bears and after a defensive series seems just fine on KR.

Personally, I think Hester's problems are purely psychological. What did Gale Sayers say? That Hester looked like he was scared of contact or something? Maybe Hester took a big lick on a particular return or maybe there's too much pressure on him to take one to the house every time. I just can't accept that a guy as well conditioned as he could lose the magic he had over the last two seasons and be totally zapped of his energy. Something's not right in his head.

MsBearsfan, I'm still angry. Maybe a win Thursday will clear my mind of the "Metcalf Move."

Well, I am happy they won, but not impressed yet.

Players stepped up on Sunday. The defense playing better Sunday came in junction with good or better performances from Harris, Harrison, Adams, Payne, Manning, M. Brown, and Graham. Adams and Harrison especially. Adams did great taking up 2 blockers for a little while longer during the play. And Harrison has proven to be a force one on one.

A weird, but maybe insanely intelligent, suggestion:
Say Harris just can't take the pounding on the interior of the line. Couldn't he slim down to 283-ish, and move to strong side DE ala Reggie White. I think Harris would be a beast at Strong side DE with that quick first step, and would still power through OT's one on one.

Orton, and Hester played the best for them the last month on a day Forte played perhaps his worst game of the year. Though Forte still made plays. Olson, and Clark had decent games. The O-line got a decent push on the interior in the first half.

Isn't it obvious that the Bears perform better when they go no huddle?

Isn't it obvious Hester has better days when he gets involved early?

Did Babich actually make half way decent choices half the time on Sunday? (Still fire him. I think he sucks.)

And Creighton, I was one who clammored for the Bears to pick Nicks. He would have definitely been more valuable than either Steltz or Bowman. Although I bet Bowman turns out to be good, and will press Tillman for playing time.

I wonder, Why was Mcclover was put on IR so fast? Mcclover pulled his Hmastring last week and 4 days later put on IR. Wolfe just pulled his hamstring the past game against the Jags.Interesting enough they both were battleing for the most special teams tackles. Wolfe this week has pulled his Hamstring. I wonder if he would be put on IR also. If not...Houston we may have a problem.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on December 8, 2008 11:40 AM.

Bears special teams takes big hit was the previous entry in this blog.

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