Chicago Sun-Times

Could the Bears and Steelers chuck it 80 times on Sunday?

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The players will get back to work this morning in preparation for Sunday's home opener with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Just like that the focus shifts from Brian Urlacher being lost for the season, and the disappointment of a 20-15 loss at Lambeau Field, to the next opponent. A couple quick thoughts as we prepare to start the day:

*** Could there be 80 passes in this game? The Pittsburgh Steelers aren't a run-oriented team, and they have not been one for some time. They throw to get the lead and then try to grind opponents down. With the Bears facing issues in the secondary, will Ben Roethlisberger be called on to chuck it more than 40 times? If so, the Bears could have a big day rushing the passer. The Steelers' line has some real issues, and you noticed the Rod Marinelli difference after about, oh, one quarter up at Green Bay.

*** Orlando Pace will need to play better, and the Steelers will be bringing the heat at Jay Cutler with their linebackers. It's fair to say Pittsburgh will miss all-pro strong safety Troy Polamalu more than the Bears will miss Urlacher though. Polamalu keys so much of what they do in terms of blitzing and disguising coverages.

*** Cutler needs to involve Matt Forte as a receiver this week. Forte is one of the better backs in the league at catching the ball. An eight-yard gain to Forte is sometimes better than taking a shot downfield. Cutler usually sees the field very well.

*** Let's see if tight end Greg Olsen shows up this week. His much ballyhooed promotion to the starting lineup fizzled at Green Bay, and the Bears will likely be without Desmond Clark, who announced on his radio show Tuesday night that he has a cracked rib. We tuned in to "Sportsmanlike Conduct" on Voice of America Sports and it was a good listen. While perusing the lineups at VOA, I learned there is another show hosted by Dave "The Hammer" Schultz, and I'm all about The Hammer, who some would argue committed a lot of unsportsmanlike conduct.

*** Will Lovie Smith tinker with the idea of adding Danieal Manning to the starting lineup as a free safety. We might not find out, but don't discount the possibility at some point this season.

*** You know what, don't think I have mentioned it at all, punter Brad Maynard was terrific Sunday night at Green Bay. I've been remiss in not pointing that out. He had a net of 46 yards on four kicks, and was dropping them right along the sideline. He was outstanding.

*** Bears need to win this game. Consider that Minnesota (1-0) goes to Detroit and Green Bay (1-0) hosts Cincinnati. Yeah, it's only two weeks, but if the Bears fall to the Steelers, they face the possibility of being two back of two teams after two weeks. That wouldn't be good.

*** Finally, for entertainment purposes only, the Steelers are three-point favorites.

I'll check in during the day.

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I agree, big game Sunday! Bears will be better offensively as Lovie will try to incorporate Forte much more into "O". Polamalu's absence hurts the Steelers and will make life much easier for Jay. If the Bears can run the ball and rush Big Ben then the chances for victory will increase dramatically. Offense has to control the clock and defense has to disrupt the Steeler offensive line and rattle Roethlisberger. GO BEARS!!!!!

Defensive line pressure is the key to winning a game like this one. It would be nice to see Bears receivers finish routes so Cutler will not be as exposed as he was against Green Bay. Cutler also made very poor decisions that certainly contributed to the loss.

If Cutler wants to become an elite QB in the NFL, it is about making positive plays when they are available and reducing negative plays, not just being a gun slinger. Brady, Montana, Young, Peyton Manning, the great QB's take and took calculated risks, Culter was just throwing it up on Sunday night clearly into multiple coverage situations even despite the fact the receivers did not finish their routes which may have saved an interception or two but that is about it. Cutler needs to be the leader now, accept responsibility and not blame others.

I am starting to believe that maybe Manning would be a better fit than Payne at free safety. Payne clearly was out of position a number of times and bit frequently on play action which would have burned him more than they actually did had Rodgers had more time or connected on some throws earlier in the game. The Jennings TD was in my opinion Payne's job of busting up and not allowing the deep completion.

Lovie and certain members of his staff are not a brain trust for sure, lets hope they can get the train back on the track against the Steelers. This should be a tough hard fought game, it is rough to start 0-2 but they very well could unless of course they eliminate the mistakes that cost them the Green Bay game.

Brad, how did you rate Omiyale's performance on Sunday? From everything I saw he looked like a Tackle playing Guard, he got manhandled and simply pushed aside on both pass and run plays and really looked like a weak link. He's probably got the physical tools although I dont think he's quite good enough at playing guard yet to start in that position.

I was never a big fan of the Orlando Pace signing, if he continues to struggle, it might be time to shift Chris Williams over to left tackle, and insert Kevin Shaffer in at right tackle. Chris Williams is the teams best tackle, and Shaffer is a good run blocker. Also, I would let Josh Beekman have a crack at the left guard job, he seems to get more push inside. Sunday, when he came in, Chicago seemed to run the ball better. As for Omiyale, he needs to sit another year and learn the guard position a little better, or go back to tackle. He might not be a bad option as the teams swing tackle. If he remains in the starting lineup at guard, hopefully he can step it up, we'll see.

Running the ball is gonna be key, it will allow Jay Cutler time to gel with his receivers, and keep the defense off the field. I think Chicago would be a better team on the ground with Beekman and Shaffer in the lineup. Josh Beekman is probably the teams best guard, and Shaffer might be the teams best run blocking tackle, and their both on the bench. I know it's still early, but if Chicago continues to struggle on the ground, some line changes might help, just an opinion.

And I agree 100% with Brad, Marinelli has made a difference. Ogunleye had a monster game, yes I realize he was going against a guy that shouldn't be an NFL backup, but still. Also, Mark Anderson had a pretty good game especially vs the run, he seems to be improving as a run stopper. The defense overall looked a lot better than they did late last season, and a big part of it is probably due to Marinelli. And yes, Chicago needs to win this game, which they can GO BEARS!!

Brad: Your tweet about Banks' similar injury in 1990 then playing in Super Bowl XXI is off by a bit. The Bears played in SB XX after the 85 season, so Banks would have been playing in SB XXV, after the 1990 season, not XXI.

Hopefully you can edit ur tweet...

Most posters are making a lot of noise about the reciever play in the game on Sunday specifically cutting off their routes, but I feel that this is not totally the issue, the receivers we have, have played with QB's who had to hit you in open spaces, if at all. Clark would have been in the right position last year if Orton threw that ball because it would have been right to him, on some of those passes over the middle, no previous Bears QB could have possibliy attempted those passes, the team saw no pressure at all in pre-season, and clearly did not expect to see the pass rush they got from the slackers, the team threw for over 250 yds. in the game and it was a terrible outing by Cutler, there have been years we would have prayed for that many yards without the INT's of course. Bennett caught seven balls as a possesion guy good numbers if you ask me, yes Olsen was double teammed, but why wouldn't he be, we spent all summer talking about the breakout year Olsen is suspose to have, If I'm a d-coordinator I'd do the same thing. The BEARS are a team that needs to improve each week, especially in the passing game, the talent is better than its been in the past on offense, if you are jumping off the ship in week one then you really do not understand the game.

The o-line did not do a bad job protecting, the slackers started blitzing because they could generate no pass rush without it, the 3-4 is a blitzing scheme anyway as we will find out on Sunday. To me the game was determined by the play calling and not using Forte in the short passing game, which will be crucial to any success we have this week, get the ball to him their behind the blitzing LB's of the Steelers and then that will bring up the safeties so we can take shots down the field, ball control in the short-passing game mixing in some runs and screens is how to take advantage of our offensive weapon's. I hope to see the ball in Forte hands more on
sunday, and take away the pressure the Steelers can bring to give us a chance. also why worry about being 0-2, everyone (pronositcators) had us losing the first two games anyway, if we split them we are ahead of the game, the slacker loss was key, that was one we let get away. GO BEARS

Hey dahlillama,

Your quote "If Cutler wants to become an elite QB in the NFL, it is about making positive plays when they are available and reducing negative plays, not just being a gun slinger. Brady, Montana, Young, Peyton Manning, the great QB's take and took calculated risks,"

I guess you forgot to mention "great" Ben Roethlisberger in that mix. All that guy does is WIN and he has more fourth quarter come backs in the last 5 years than any of the clowns you mentioned. And I hope you don't say that Big Ben has a great team around hime because I recall the Steelers having Kordell Stewart, Tommy Maddox and others and those teams never won a super bowl.

It should be a good game Sunday but don't think that rushing Ben and making him scramble and improvise is gonna mess up his game. Just the opposite.

I'm not here to talk smack on the Bears. I actually like the Bears. Tough team. I just have to defend my boy Big Ben when he STILL doesn't get mentioned as an elite qb in the game today. Did you know that Tom Brady NEVER had a game winning drive for a td in the superbowl?? He only drove down the field to put their kicker in field goal range. But Ben had the best cluctc drives and the best td pass in super owl history.

Steeler 24
Bears 13

The offensive line is a fundamental and basic part of the offense. If it doesn't play well the offense goes nowhere, like the game in Green Bay. And if the Bears think it was hard blocking the Packers, wait till they see how hard it will be blocking the Steelers. The Bears had better come up with an exponentially better effort from their line and receivers if they want to even be in this game. And it goes without saying that the defense will have to continue to play well, even without Urlacher and Tinoisamoa.

Chi Town: You have to admit that the receiver play was poor at best. I agree that Bennett played pretty well and Hester was better than I expected. But it was the inconsistency of their play that came back to haunt them. Clarke stopping in the end zone was a touchdown had he kept running toward the corner. Knox and Bennett both had very good plays and poor plays that cost the Bears.

Chi Town, it is what it is and it will take some time to get this group together. My concern is if the Bears make the playoffs you still have a lot of youth to count on in clutch games. One proven vet receiver is important to have.

Ken, I don't know that anyone would consider Brady, Montana, Young and Manning as being clowns, albeit big Ben is making some noise to join this elite group of clowns as you say it.

Sorry Brad, but I think it's too early to rate the Marinelli impact. That was the first time any team has seen Marinelli's d-line schemes -- at least with the Bears. Yes, they were effective, but the Steelers now have those schemes on tape and can start addressing them.

It's going to take several games to really assess Marinelli's impact. Certainly, the d-line played well. The Steelers o-line is not as strong as in past years, but they will at least have prepared somewhat for Marinelli's game planning. The Packers really were operating on guesswork.

That said, it appeared that Mark Anderson finally showed up after taking most of the past two seasons off. Ogunleye played well (but is seeking a new contract).

It will be interesting to see which team's o- and d-line control the game.

For what it's worth, this game will be decided by the TEs.

Also, look for Mendanhall, when he is in, to make an impact.

Brad, I've been thinking about what you said about the Steelers throwing it. It seems like the main thing that the Bears will lose with Urlacher out is range from the mike position.

Given those two factors, do you think the Bears may use more nickel this week?

If they did that, it would mean taking out a linebacker and putting Manning, Afalava and Payne on the field at the same time. They all support the run pretty well. It may not cost them much even if the Steelers try their running game.

"...and you noticed the Rod Marinelli difference after about, oh, one quarter up at Green Bay." -Biggs

"And I agree 100% with Brad, Marinelli has made a difference. Ogunleye had a monster game, yes I realize he was going against a guy that shouldn't be an NFL backup, but still." -Kevin Armstead

Kev, do you read what you write sometimes? Wale had a monster game, but it was against a linemen who has no business playing in the NFL? Think about that. I'll give #93 his due for capitalizing on a weakness Green Bay's line had, since Anderson didn't have much success when he was put on Goon's side, but as Creighton pointed out, the right side of that line is downright horrible. I wouldn't be surprised if Rodgers misses time due to injury cuz' he's going to take a pounding from that side.

And Brad, what happened to the "Marinelli difference" for the rest of the game? You know, like the other three quarters? There were four sacks total, yes, but the line had only two, both from Goon. Where was Alex Brown the whole night? Anderson? He had a nice tackle on the RB but that was all I saw from him. Harris is still hobbling around out there and playing poorly.

Let me try running this by everyone again. Marinelli is a position coach. He's not going to change the players you have into Warren Sapp clones. This is the same line of the last two seasons who looked alright on Sunday night because Green Bay has a decrepit right side. On a positive note, the Steelers have no run game and their offensive line has issues on every side. Our speedy, undersized d-line has a good chance against that because they can chase down Big Ben if/when he breaks out of the pocket. They just have to make sure to hold onto him and bring him to the ground because he's a slippery player.

Ken, super owl history? Please, tell me more about this Super Owl and his storied past.

Bears 20, Squealers 15

Nice site you guys have here. As a Steelers fan, I have to agree with some of the points made above. I expect Cutler to rebound and put on a strong performance. Coupled with Polamalu being out and Cutler's desire to show that he is a franchise QB, I don't expect the Steelers to be able to stop the passing game. However, Lawrence Timmons an ILB may be back this game which should beef up the run defense.

As for the Steeler offense, the run game is horrible. That is clear. They are so one-dimensional it is scary. If the Bears can keep Santonio Holmes under wraps, I expect a 7-10 point victory by the Bears.

Hey dali:

My point is that both the receivers and the QB were out of sync in the scramble drill scenarios they were playing under on Sunday night. Orton and Grossman would throw the ball right to the receiver when open if they were scrambling, here we see that Cutler was trying to lead the receiver to open areas anticipating they would keep running to the spot. This is something the team would have to go through anyway, it got exposed earlier than we would like in the game. I think we will see improvement as the season goes on. As for your point about a veteran receiver, I think it's past time to go down that path, last lear we had veteran receivers and they dropped balls and could not stay injury free either. I say go with the youth and let them develop with Jay for our future, we did not get the guy for one year we got him for ten.

This brings me to another issue the BEARS have on defense and that is the star players who get respect around the league are getting older, we need our younger players to start becoming a factor to take anothe step forward. I see potential with players like Payne, Harrison, Graham, Alfalva, and hope to see Williams start to get playing time to see if he can help or should we get another young backer in the draft. I'm still optimistic about this season...I hate to lose to the slackers as much as anyone on here, but the negative reaction after one week from some of you on the blog makes me wonder if even a 14-2 season would make people happy.
I still say we have a shot at 11-5 or 10-6 and that still could get us in the playoffs, if we can steal a home game win over the champs this week, everyone will be giddy again. Basically this team has to get the youth to develop quickly to make a serious run this season.....GO BEARS

Steelers fans, you're in for a real treat. We have a Bears fan on this blog that comes here and posts his OPINIONS on everything Bear related. His name is Creighton and he has a massive ego problem which forces him to believe that he is always right about everything. Unfortunately for him, his massive ego caught up with him during the infamous Cutler trade and he said this:

By Creighton on March 25, 2009 11:48 PM

"In fact I am so sure that Angelo will not get him [Cutler] that if he does, I will be outside Soilder Field in a hot pink panties that say spank me, singing the Crackers Happy birthday to me while holding up a sign that reads Brando rules and I suck...First home game and I will also paint myself Orange and Blue and get a tattoo thats says Angelo is the man on my forehead."

So for all you Pittsburgh fans planning on coming to Chicago to see the game in person, be on the lookout for this fat, know-it-all-clown who lives in his mother's basement and has some sick hatred for actor Marlon Brando, to bare it all on what used to be beautiful Soldier Field.

That is of course if he mans up. I pesonally think he's a coward and will make some lame excuse like his mom can't drive him to the game that day. But we will see...

Man up, Creighton. Man up.

Mike said: "I'll give #93 his due for capitalizing on a weakness Green Bay's line had"

Mike, I basically said the same thing, and then you turn around and tell me to look at what I write? I have never said Marinelli will turn Chicago's d-linemen into Warren Sapp clones. I liked the Marinelli hiring because he knows Chicago's scheme inside and out, he was in Tampa with Dungy and Lovie Smith when the Tampa two got started. You seem to have this vendetta against anything Marinelli...why? Who else out there would have been more qualified for Chicago to bring in last off-season to be Chicago's defensive line coach? Answer, no one. Like it or not, Marinelli was a good hire. The d-line did play good, no Anderson didn't have a sack, but the guy did look stout vs the run, something he wasn't a year ago. Also, of course the defense wore down as the game went on, they were on the field for most of the game, 4 ints will do that to a defense. So yeah, their gonna wear down. Cut em some slack for petes sake. Brad Biggs isn't the only one saying Rod Marinelli is making a difference, a lot of people are. The guys on the score to even the play by play guys have said good things about Rod M. Telling people its to early to say if Marinelli is making a difference or not I'll give you. But same thing goes for you, at least wait till mid season to say he isn't, not after just four quarters of play GO BEARS!!

you guys lost your best player in urlacker...your chances were bad before but what makes you think you'll get a win now? our steel d will crush you guys and cutler will throw four mor picks!

black and gold 4 ever!

hey creighton i'm going to the game so i'll see you there! i hope your mommy can give you a ride though. X-D

Kevin, there's a difference between saying a guy had a monster game and giving him his due for doing what he was supposed to do and not falling short. Brad attributed Wale's sacks to Marinelli and you agreed "100%" with him. I said the Packers right side of the line was crap and Wale just took advantage of it as a veteran should. Maybe you would say Wale had a "monster" game against St. Louis last season oh but wait. Marinelli wasn't our d-line coach so I guess we can't say that.

What upsets me about Marinelli is that fans (and media types) truly believe a position coach is going to get us back to '05-'06 form. If the line gets a sack it's "Praise Marinelli and all the wonders he does!" If not, his devoted followers remain silent. He is a position coach and that's all; one that greatly benefitted from being on a Tampa team that sold out to make their front four elite.

Our guys are decent players and sometimes they'll do good things. Sometimes they face bad lines and capitalize just like the past few years but unless you get new talent or Harris magically heals up you're going to see the same crummy thing as before against better offenses. Rod or not.

In closing, here Kevin, I'm going to give you this rock. It has special powers, it keeps tigers away. Oh my gosh! I don't see a single tiger! Praise the rock!

Mike, again, not funny.

You also have to factor in losing Urlacher and Tinoisamoa in the 1st half. But I think I saw Brown, Anderson and Adams getting good push and flushing Rodgers out of the pocket on a number of plays. You shouldn't forget that Rodgers is a very good QB with mobility and arm strength, and the Packers have good receivers that can get open and are on the same page with Rodgers. Of course, Lovie calling effective blitzes also had a good effect in terms of QB pressure and it wasn't all about the line, but I just don't see how you can be so negative about the D line play on Sunday, which was A LOT better than last year's gashing in GB, which I think you'll agree.

Also, which one of us said the line would be as good as the SB Bears D line, or that Rod would turn our line into a Warren Sapp clone line? Stop making things up. You can make a good argument without doing that.

On a separate note, Roethlisberger, while putting up mediocre numbers as a passer, is making a habit of winning games in the 4th quarter. We'll get our share of sacks in the game, but the key is to not give him a chance to be the hero at the end of the game. Ron Turner had better learn how to eat clock like crazy in a hurry; run it, screen it, shovel pass it, swing it, but don't chuck it down the field just because you're in love with the QB's arm. Ron Turner is horrendous at eating clock.

"I say go with the youth and let them develop with Jay for our future, we did not get the guy for one year we got him for ten."

Excuse me, but Chicago has Jay for only 3 years, at that time, if he hasn't signed a contract extension with the Bears, he will be a free agent. If the stupid media keeps giving him sh$$ about not kissing their backsides then there is a good chance that Jay will throw the Chicago fans under the bus and sign with a different team. Keep you eyes open for where Mike Shanny goes...he and Jay are friends. Jay has alot of talent but the offensive team is made up with experienced rookies. Stay positive and give them time to become a great team, it doesn't happen over night!

By MOMO on September 16, 2009 8:33 PM
"Mike, again, not funny."

Don't worry MOMO. My posts aren't meant to be understood by people with IQs at or below 70. Run along now and go back to your knock-knock jokes.

Wait, why are you calling me out? Hmm, let's see...oh that's right. A little while ago you reasoned that Michael Vick's criminal activities, which included brutally murdering and torturing animals, was no different than a child stealing a cookie from a cookie jar and therefore he should get a second chance in the NFL. And I basically called you a complete imbecile for making that comparison.

MOMO, again, not smart.

Mike, again, not funny. And if you remember correctly, I corrected you on your reading error on that one. Stop making things up.

Hey Mike, did you get that rock from the same planet where position coaches are no longer needed? Now thats funny....GO BEARS!!

Chi Town: Some good points about the receivers and yes it is probably a little late in getting a vet WR now to help. The problem of course will be when or if the Bears make the playoffs, which I believe they will with either a 10-6 or 11-5 record.

The QB and receivers will take time to jel and I hope the Bears don't lose more than 4 games by mid season when the receivers should start to be more on the same page with Cutler. The other concern is of course when the Bears make the playoffs, it is pretty tough to count on untested rookies and a 1 year player in Bennett that is almost like a rookie in crunch time of the playoffs. That typically is when a vet WR would help big time.

You can not murder an animal. The definition of murder is to kill another human, unlawfully. Dogs are not human. Killed an animal is appropriate. Only a drama queen would say murdered an animal.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on September 16, 2009 5:12 AM.

Desmond Clark suffered a cracked rib at Green Bay was the previous entry in this blog.

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