Bears-Titans preview: Bears ball
November 2, 2012, 2:55 pm
The Tennessee Titans have not defended anything particularly well. So:
If the Bears cannot run the ball at will on a defense standing 28th in yardage and 26th in per-carry averages allowed;
if they cannot throw at will on a unit ranked 31st in third-down stops, 30th in sacks per pass play and 30th in overall yards allowed per game;
then the Bears’ offense may want to forget about getting off the bus running and just stay on the bus.
“We don’t have to get exponentially better,” insisted quarterback Jay Cutler. “We just have to take one step at a time, each week each player gets a little better at a time and by the end of the year we’ll be where we want to be.”
They most definitely are not where they want to be now. Despite the addition of Brandon Marshall, the Bears rank 25th in passing yardage per game (195.6). Last year they were 18th (222.7).
Curiously perhaps, while some talk is over whether or not running back Matt Forte is getting the ball enough, the Bears are averaging 124 yards per game vs. last year’s 114.7 at this point.
Remember the Titans
The Titans are being perceived as a get-right game for the streaky Chicago Bears offense. It would be a mistake in judgment if that filtered into the Bears’ locker room the way the misperception of the Carolina Panthers appeared to, judging from the results of the first three quarters last Sunday and players acknowledging that they came out flat.
Carolina allowed the Bears all of 61 yards until the final possession of the third quarter when Jay Cutler found Earl Bennett for 24 and 11 yards on successive plays. Even that trace of a pulse amounted to nothing when Robbie Gould missed a field goal, meaning that with 7 minutes remaining in the game, the supposedly “explosive” Chicago offense had put all of seven points on the NFL’s 20th-ranked scoring defense.
If that happens against the Titans, an offseason of adding Michael Bush, Brandon Marshall, Chilo Rachal and other pieces like Jeremy Bates to coach Cutler would appear to have added very little to the overall.
Tennessee is 31st in points allowed (32.1 per game). Of some immediate concern, for the last three games, the Titans are allowing an average of nearly 25 points per game, and they won two of those games.
The Bears have allowed an alarming 11 sacks in the last two games. They are “credited” with accounting for nearly a third of the year’s sack totals for Detroit (five of 17) and Carolina (six of 20).
The operative word there is “Bears” because Cutler’s propensity to hold the ball too long has directly contributed to an estimated half of those takedowns.
And it is “Bears” because so many different players are having breakdowns in an overall where one missed block can offset every other one being made.
“We talked about a couple weeks ago, ‘Don’t be The Guy [to mess up],’ and we took turns all the way across the board being the guy,” Tice said. “We had a lot of individual breakdowns of guys physically across the board.”
The Titans play a 4-3 with undersized speed rushers on the edges, one in particular that has left the Bears with some scar tissue.
Kamerion Wimbley delivered what arguably was a turning point the wrong direction last season as an Oakland Raider when he intercepted a Caleb Hanie pass and returned it 73 yards to set up a first-half field goal that took away a go-ahead scoring opportunity and appeared to unravel Hanie and the Bears, who lost that and the next four games, and the season.
Wimbley, with 2.5 sacks and five QB pressures, will typically line up at right end at 255 pounds – about the same size as Green Bay’s Clay Matthews – with a 70-pound disadvantage vs. left tackle J’Marcus Webb. He had a sack of Hanie last year and one of Cutler in 2009, a game in which Cutler was pressured into a passer rating of 66.7.
Wimbley is a former No. 1 pick (Cleveland). Left end Derrick Morgan (278 pounds) was Titans’ No. 1 pick in 2010. And the starting secondary has a total of 22 NFL seasons, with three 6-footers and 5-10 corner Alterraun Verner.
“Scary team,” Marshall said. “They’ve got some guys on the back end that have played the game for some time now.”
Tags: Jay Cutler
, brandon marshall
, Tennessee Titans
, Chicago Bears