- Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times points to the wealth of playoff experience on defense and the lack on offense. Vaughn McClure wrote a similar article for the Chicago Tribune and got, perhaps, the best quote from Olin Kreutz on the playoff atmosphere Sunday:
‘‘”The great thing about the Green Bay game was that we don’t have to give anybody a speech about the playoffs because we were in one. If anybody wondered what defenses do to you in the playoffs, (Packers defensive coordinator) Dom Capers showed us. They’re fighting for their playoffs lives, so you’re going to see everything they have in their playbook.’’
The difference in this kind of experience may be one reason why the defense preformed so much better.
- I thought Johnny Knox, in particular, wilted under the pressure and the relentless physical nature of the game Sunday. Here’s hoping he responds better in the playoffs. However, the game may have been an indication that the Bear wide receivers aren’t as good as many people thought. offensive coordinator Mike Martz may be having similar thoughts (via McClure, again):
“We had eight opportunities in the passing game to make really big plays, and we didn’t make one of them, which is not like us. Very disappointed.”
- McClure also points out that the Bears had to offer Levi Horn more money to keep him from leaving the Bear practice squad to join the Dolphins 53 man roster. The Bears lost Juaquin Iglesias to the Vikings last week. An glass half full kind of person might condor other teams trying to raid the Bears practice squad as a good sign.
- Sean Jensen, also at the Sun-Times, writes a nice article which provides some insight into the duties of the running back as a pass protector in Martz’s offense:
“Under former Bears coordinator Ron Turner, running backs might have been responsible for a part of the field. Under Martz, they have to ‘scan’ the entire field to identify a blitzer. If none comes, the running back may have to quickly find space to provide an option for the quarterback and become the ‘hot read.'”
- Fred Mitchell at the Chicago Tribune gets an interesting nugget from kicker Robbie Gould on the new overtime rules that kick in for the playoffs:
“You might see a couple of extra onside kicks.”
- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune tries to convince us that GM Jerry Angelo has been doing a good job. He makes some good points and its clear that Angelo does some things well. But in the the most important thing, drafting difference-making play makers at the top of the draft at the three most important positions on the field, there’s no getting around the fact that Angelo has failed miserably.
- When the Bears played the eagles in week 12, the Eagles didn’t have Asante Samuel. Jeff Dickerson at ESPNChicago thinks his presence could make a difference in the Bears see them in the playoffs.
One Final Thought
Jensen again, quoting former Ram running back Marshall Faulk on Matt Forte in Martz’s scheme:
‘‘Once he gets that confidence in this system, you’ll see him stop thinking. There are times he’s thinking and not playing. I’ve watched him grow into this offense.’’