What It All Comes Down to on Defense and Other Points of View


  • Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune puts his finger on one of the major problems Friday night that got little attention. Jay Cutler had a poor game accuracy wise. That should, I hope, be an anomaly.
  • Biggs brings up the other point, which I think is much more of an issue and which is weighing heavily on my mind.:

“But the pass rush as a whole has left plenty of room for improvement, especially when you consider the Bears will face Aaron Rodgers in Week 2 at Lambeau Field. They’ve got to dial up the pressure.”

The entire defense is predicated upon the fact that the front four must get pressure on the quarterback. Eli Manning was an extremely comfortable man Friday.

It’s not that the other, more heavily criticized units looked good. But the game of football is still played at the line of scrimmage and ninety perent of the time when the Lovie Smith‘s defense isn’t performing well, its because of lack of pressure. I’m really surprised that this hasn’t been brought up more since the game ended. I can almost guarantee that Smith will tomorrow.

  • Steve Ronsenbloom at the Chicago Tribune pinpoints another issue I think we’ll hear about as well:

“Quick, someone tell the Bears it’s OK to practice tackling in games.”

  • I think we’d better get used to this. From Joe Cowley at the Chicago Sun-Times:

“Receiver Alshon Jeffery had become a very reliable target throughout training camp and the first two preseason games, but he had an awful-looking drop in the first quarter that would’ve put the Bears at the Giants’ 3-yard line.

Jeffery redeemed himself with a catch of a tipped ball that he turned into a first down, but it was his only reception.”

1) Jeffrey was pretty much know for his dropss in college. He might not kick the habit easily. 2) It worth noting that the ball was tipped because, like much of the game, he was covered like a blanket.

Room for two? Former Mayor Richard M. Daley suggests the NFL should put a second franchise in Chicago, something that seems a little farfetched when Los Angeles remains without a club. Of course, the Cardinals used to call Chicago home.

I think its more likely than getting a Super Bowl. And that’s not very likely.

  • Oh, yeah. And Daley also wants a new stadium. From The Huffington Post.
  • Cowley on rookie defensive end Shea McClellin:

“And as far as dropping McClellin back into a zone coverage in certain situations? Not happening.”

“We run our package with him,’’ Marinelli added. “Where the league is in terms of mobility of quarterback, the speed, and or guys that can step up and avoid, you need speed coming at the quarterback. You are looking for athletic guys. Henry Melton is athletic, Julius [Peppers], Izzy [Israel Idonije], this guy is athletic, so you are looking for athletic guys that can play in space, and he can do that. Once you start moving a guy around a lot it diminishes your skills.’’

Anyone who watched these preseason games can see that the Bears are already dropping McClellin into coverage. But whatever.

“With Chris Williams looking decent the other night at right tackle, and J’Marcus Webb struggling, why isn’t anyone talking about Gabe Carimi at left tackle?  He dominated at the position for his entire college career, yet they wrote him off over there after two practices, I’ve never understood why. Brad, Chicago

“The Bears drafted Carimi to be a right tackle.  They believe he is better suited to play right tackle than left. Even though he played left tackle at Wisconsin, Carimi was not asked to do much traditional pass protecting there because the Badgers didn’t rely on a lot of dropbacks. They were a running team.  And run blocking is what he does best. A lot of people doubt that Carimi has the foot quickness to be an outstanding left tackle in the NFL.  There is much less doubt that he can be an outstanding right tackle.”

“Yeah, I think I will,” Williams said.

Then he’s the only one.

“All offseason, both Brian Urlacher and the Bears organization assured us his knee would be fine by training camp.  Given the class with which Urlacher has handled the business side of football, I hate to even ask, but since I’m also very cynical when it comes to pro athletes, here goes:  Do you think he’s really hurt, or is there nothing wrong that can’t be healed by a visit from Dr. Contract Extension? Mark E., Arlington, Va.

“I think anyone who knows Urlacher will tell you he does not operate that way.  It’s hard for a player to achieve greatness if money is his primary motivation.  He has to play because he loves the game.  Urlacher does. He is a warrior and a professional. I think his knee is really hurt.”

  • However, I’m happy to say that I can follow it with this one:

“With the change in offensive play-calling, do you expect the Bears to take fewer early-game timeouts to avoid play-clock penalties? Ken L., Brownsville, Minn.

“Yes I do. One of [former offensive coordinator] Mike Martz’s strengths — and one of his weaknesses — is he was intent on getting the perfect call on every play.  He was very deliberate in his play calls, and he wanted to consider all of the circumstances before pulling the trigger.  This sometimes led to big plays.  And this sometimes led to delay-of-game penalties.”

“The best offensive coordinators are innovators and are more of the intellectual type.  Mike Tice seems more like a tough guy and perhaps better suited to the offensive line.  If the offense isn’t deceptive enough, defenses will know what’s coming and stop it.  Do you think Tice’s offense will be deceptive and tricky enough to be successful?  How important do you think deception is? Jim P., Chicago

“I think you are stereotyping Tice and coaches in general.  He is a tough guy.  That doesn’t mean he also isn’t “more of the intellectual type.”  Tice has a few tricks in his bag. But the most important thing for the Bears’ offense is execution, not deception. The best teams in the league aren’t playing shell games with opponents; they are out-hitting and out-blocking them. If players don’t play with good technique and fundamentals and beat the players on the other side of the line, no amount of deception in the NFL could help them.  Deception only is valuable when all the basics are covered.”

I would say that the best teams in the NFL are doing both.

  • I thought this comment via Biggs from defensive tackle Nate Collins before Friday’s game was interesting. Collins spent some time on the Giants 2010 practice squad.

“‘It will be good to go against some of those guys I used to always go against in practice and you’re kind of like the dummy,’ Collins said. ‘It’ll be good to go in there and get a chance to really play and compete and see what I can do.'”

  • I thought the third preseason game was more worthwhile than the first two. But I had a hard time getting as excited as this guy was:


“Lost in all the opponent stomps, roadside
arrests, practice sucker punches and handshake fracases is the fact that
the Lions are mighty fine football team that keeps getting better.

“General manager Martin Mayhew has surrounded Stafford, the No. 1 pick of the 2009 draft, with seven
skill-position players who were either first- or second-round draft picks.”

“Schwartz publicly has downplayed reducing penalties but privately has made it a mission.
Players say he has railed about penalties in meetings. During offseason practices, when a player did
something that would have been called a penalty in a game, he stopped practice and made the team run.
At the start of training camp he showed players a chart comparing the Lions’ penalties to the penalties of
teams that advanced past the first round of the playoffs, which the Lions failed to do.

His message was clear: The Lions need to cut down on penalties if they want to go further in 2012.”

One Final Thought

Glad to see that Pompei’s Sunday Blitz column at The National Football Post is back. This comment fascinates me:

“No surprise to see Shawne Merriman out of football. He was a player who needed to believe he was invincible in order to be his best, and he probably no longer could believe it. In a 2006 interview in the film room at Merriman’s home in San Diego, this is what he told me. “I take pride in trying to be the best, in being dominant, and my work ethic. I talk a lot of stuff to my teammates and coaches that I almost have to take the extra step to live up to it. You can’t go around this league talking and not go out and do it… I can’t envision somebody beating me one on one. I have so much pride that I can’t. It’s going to happen. Everybody in the league has been beaten, no matter who you are, whether it’s in a race, or somebody is a step quicker than you, or stronger than you. But in my head I can’t envision losing a battle. I take that very seriously. I don’t plan on it happening.”


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