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Bears Thu Sep 03 2009

Footballic Ramblings: Wrapping Up the Preseason Like It's Ziti

Alright, that whole "Mile-High Showdown" went waaaay better than some people were predicting for fans of the Ursas and Cutler backers. Cutler showed steely poise while utterly "pwning" the Broncos tissue-soft secondary. Particularly on the 2-minute drill to cap the first half. Good stuff, Jay-Bot 5000, that's what the management expected when they traded away some draft picks and Kyle "Owie on My Finger" Orton back in April. Cutler was routinely connecting with former Terminator and current Bear tight end, Greg Olsen, who was practically camping out in the flat on play after play. Matt Forte was, predictably, awesome in limited action and Devin Hester decided to play like it was 2006 again. A good game and a good night to be a Bears fan.

...However...

There are some foreboding clouds approaching from the horizon. Issues about the offensive line (and yes, Orlando Pace, I'm talking about you) and also the Bears secondary is still oh-so-flammable.

The behemoth left tackle, Orlando Pace was routinely burned by Denver's undersized end, Elvis Dumervil. Dumervil --who admittedly is fleet-footed and is one of those freakish talents who can bounce from any linebacker position to d-end without missing a beat-- clawed and slashed through Pace's soft, underbelly; regularly dashing around, over and through Orlando's stumbling attempts at protecting the precious gem that is Jay Cutler. Now, I know what you're thinking, "Brian, Dumervil is only one dude, can't we just forget about Pace's shortcomings against a freak talent?" Sadly, dear reader, no, we cannot forget. The scheduling gods have loaded da Bears 09 season with vicious defenses that are fed a regular diet of Kill-Juice (patent pending) and many of them uhh, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Green Bay (yep!) and even Philly to a smaller extent, have in their possession the type of wrecking ball/hacking machete-type hybrid defensive end cum linebacker that will continually wreak havoc with Pace (or, likely, whomever is playing at LT on the Bears line). Bummertown. The key to the Bears whole season is for Monsieurs Cutler and Forte to remain healthy, happy and to just be the general Defensive Coordinator Career Killers that they are, for that to happen the offensive line must, at all costs, protect against the scalp-collecting s.o.bs in the hybrid defensive end/linebacker position.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, the sunny news continues with a Bears defense that still is looking a little discombobulated and creaky with age. Granted, this incarnation of the offense should help keep the defense's legs a lot fresher by, y'know, being able to move the ball up field. Still there are some real concerns about the durability of the aging stars (Tommie Harris, Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, Adewale Ogunleye); the development of the young'uns (Jarron Gilbert, step your game up); and then there's the ready to torch secondary. Routinely through the preseason the trio of Vasher, Manning and Payne have brought charcoal, lighter fluid and a pack of Ball Park Franks to the game (See what I did there? They're flammable, so they're hosting a bbq, zing!) which is sorta okay but not great by any means if your front seven can pressure the offense into making mistakes. That's a tenet of the Tampa 2: cause pressure with the line and linebackers, wait for qb to screw up, turnover, success!

Yet, the Bears Golden Oldies of a front seven has not caused nearly the pressure they need to, thus making the vulnerable secondary all the more vulnerable and prone to the deep pass, broken coverage, touchdown, [frowny face emoticon].

Again, the Bears offense, even with Orlando Pace not keeping pace (burn!) should be scoring points mirthfully against the likes of San Francisco, Detroit, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Arizona and Cleveland, but against the big boys Chicago could be in for a few moments of "This is a gun fight? But I only brought a knife."

 
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