Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune reviews a few keys to Sunday’s game against the Cardinals. One thing that you expect to get from them is a lot of blitzing:
“The Cardinals blitz about 40 percent of the time, running back Matt Forte said. That’s a relatively high rate. Their frequent stunts and picks up front will test an offensive line operating with Kyle Long in only his second game at right tackle.”
“‘How you get people out of doing that is picking up the blitz and hitting plays on them,’ Forte said. ‘We have to not be afraid of, ‘Oh, they’re going to blitz,’ but, ‘OK, if they blitz, we have to hit them where it hurts.””
Campbell emphasizes the adjustments that have to be made along the offensive line. But at least as important will be quarterback Jay Cutler‘s ability to read the blitz in concert with his receivers to burn the defense. Both Cutler and the receivers have struggled with this in the past and frequent miscommunications have occurred. In particular, Cutler has a bad habit of missing free blitzers coming off the edge, especially from his left. Performance in situations where the Cardinals bring more men than can be blocked will be a key to Cutler’s success.
This will be another opportunity for the Bears coaching staff to show themselves to be superior to others the Bears have had here over the past two decades. The players certainly looked better prepared last week than we’ve seen around here in a while, especially offensively. Whether they can take the next step against a dynamic defense like the Cardinals is going to be a good question. I look forward to finding the answer.