Chicago Sun-Times

Bears adjustments don't mean Pack won't bring heat

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The Cowboys came after the Bears early in the game only to see offensive coordinator Mike Martz and offensive line coach Mike Tice to make the necessary adjustments. As a result, the Bears made enough big plays to defeat Dallas 27-20 in Cowboys Stadium on Sunday.

Knowing this, might the Packers be less likely to come after Cutler early in the game? It's possible, but tight end Greg Olsen said we'll have to wait and see.

"It all depends on the team's philosophy heading into the week and what they are going to try to take away," Olsen said. "We did a good job of adjusting through the course of the game with what we wanted to counter attack them with. The short passes and letting guys run in space was a good adjustment for us and it led to some good plays."

The big plays made up for the fact that the Bears averaged 2.0 yards per carry and converted only 1 of 11 first downs.

Expect getting the running game going and improving their third-down conversion rate to be points of emphasis as the Bears prepare to host the Packers on Monday night.

"The big plays mask that a little but but in the long run that will catch up to you," Olsen said. "You have to do a good job staying on the field and converting third downs, keeping it manageable so you have options to run and pass and can do both to keep defenses off balance. We have to work on that.

If nothing else, how the Bears reacted to the Cowboys pressure should give them confidence that they can handle anything.

"We should get an early indication like we did last week of their philosophy going in and we'll do a good job like we did last week adjusting to it," Olsen said. "You can do a good job to prepare and spend a lot of time but at the end of the day no one knows exactly 100 percent what it's going to be like on game day. When the bullets start flying you kind of say, 'Ok, here's what they're trying to do.' You relay the information to the guys and go from there. We'll see how the game plays out."

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A couple weeks ago I posted that if this Bears offense could gel within the first 3-5 weeks that it would be a testament to both the coaches and players. I still think that's true.

The offense has done enough to win the games, and has shown us some promise of things to come. It still has a lot of issues. One of those issues is the running game. Another related issue is developing the consistency needed to convert third downs and grind out some drives. As opposed to most of the naysayers in here I believe the Bears will end the year with a good offensive line. They are not good now, but we see them improve a lot with each game. We need to be encouraged that the learning curve is still steep. That means they still have a lot of up-side.

The fact that we live in an instant gratification society does not change the fact that, assuming you have good players to start with, it can take as much as a year or two to form a good offensive line. A good established line can maybe then absorb replacing one player without trama. You have to remember that the Bears still have 4 out of 5 players who have started in their position for less than a year. The line they send out against Green Bay will have played less than one regular season game together.

You can count on Green Bay realizing that, but I also think Green Bay has a good secondary that is going to have trouble forgetting last year's Cutler. This means they will play a pressure strategy mixed with schemes to put a lot of people in coverage trying to confuse Cutler into throwing some picks.

So to answer the question, yes Green Bay will still bring some pressure. And yes the o-line will continue to struggle. I think we will also see some improvement in the running game this week.

The real question this week is can the defense keep the Bears in the game?

MS we have not really seen the line improve. What we have seen is 7-8 man protection schemes. The Bears line can't get by without constant help. That is why you see the running game being as bad as it is, because that comes down to your line.

As for 4 out 5 players not starting at their positions for a full year. Who's fault it that. Omiyale has never been a full time starter, but that's what he was signed to be. Garza has played both guard psotions for the Bears. Louis is in year 2 with the Bears, Shaffer is a backup and spent a majority of his career on a zone line. Chris Williams is a number 1 draft pick in his third year.

Things can be real simple on the line. You want to know if you have a good line look at short yardage and the goal line. In the goaline it's ,man on man. All you have ot do is beat the guy in front of you. That's what it comes down to, and they can't do that. That's not a protection or scheme problem, that's a talent problem.

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on September 22, 2010 1:16 PM.

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