Bears-Seahawks preview: Protect the protectors
November 30, 2012, 1:23 pm
Long-ago Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan always said that he
learned his most basic tenet while the New York Jets’ defensive line
coach and he saw the single-mindedness with which head coach Weeb Ewbank
protecting quarterback Joe Namath. Ryan said he concluded that if
taking care of the quarterback was that important, then getting to the
quarterback should be the prime directive for his group, and when he
became a coordinator in Chicago, it remained his guiding principle.
Jay Cutler, whether for reasons of strategy or simple self-preservation, is of like mind.
and foremost, you’ve got to protect the quarterback,” Cutler said.
“It’s hard throwing out of a phone booth all the time. It makes life
difficult when you’re getting hit so you should be protected. If it’s
better to have a few more guys in helping out, then that’s what we’ve
got to do.”So, how to do it
it and doing it are different matters entirely. And, besides the fact
that Seattle ranks No. 3 defensively in scoring (16.8 points per game;
the Bears are No. 2 at 15.9 and San Francisco still No. 1), here’s the
A weakness in the Bears’ offense – an offensive
line still with moving parts after injuries and demotions – is directly
opposite core strength of the Seattle Seahawks defense.
Seahawks made defensive end Bruce Irvin the 15th overall pick of this
year’s draft. He has seven sacks (nine, according to
ProFootballFocus.com), five QB hits and 14 hurries despite playing
almost exclusively in nickel situations and less than half (280) of
Seattle opponents’ 667 snaps.
Chris Clemons has eight sacks and
17 hits. Clemons is 6-foot-3, 254 pounds, or just about the same size as
San Francisco’s Aldon Smith, who ran over and through the Bears for 5.5
Seattle starts Clemons along with three “massives:” end
Red Bryant (6-4, 323), who returned an interception of a Caleb Hanie
pass last year for a touchdown; and tackles Alan Branch (6-6, 325) and
Brandon Mebane (6-1, 311).
“They’ve got some size about them,” said offensive coordinator Mike Tice. “And ‘91’ [Clemons] is a prolific pass rusher.”Finding a weakness
Bears’ stated goal every game is to render an opponent one-dimensional
by taking away the run game. The Seahawks believe the same but have
inexplicably struggled stopping the run, however, going from No. 4 in
the NFL in yards per carry allowed to No. 26 this season.
Seattle ranks seventh in sacks per pass play and the Bears are an
alarming 32nd in sacks allowed per play. And the Seahawks allow opposing
quarterbacks a pedestrian 75.4 passer rating per game. Only the Bears
(65.1) and Arizona Cardinals (74.3) are tougher.
Tags: Jay Cutler
, Seattle Seahawks
, Chris Clemons
, Chicago Bears
, Mike Tice
, Red Bryant
, Brandon Mebane
, Bruce Irvin
, alan branch