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Friday, September 24

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« The Man They Call Cy Chen Bears Defense Dominates Visiting Rams »

Bears Fri Sep 21 2012

Cutler, Bears Should Bounce Back Against Rams

Thumbnail image for GB bears icon.pngJay Cutler would kindly like all Bears fans in attendance at Soldier Field on Sunday to shut up and stay calm. No, it has nothing to do with what you think about him shoving a lineman, or your thoughts on his body language when the game is slipping away, he just wants a quiet work environment when the offense is on the field. Or while he's having a cigarette.

I can almost guarantee Cutler will have a bounce back game on Sunday. The Bears are at home against an inferior opponent, the gameplan will refocus on running the football, and Cutler will step into the high majority of this throws. It always seems to happen after the Chicken Little game he has every season.

Michael Bush will be the workhorse running back with Matt Forte most likely missing the game with an injured ankle. How injured? Nobody except the coaching staff and trainers knows. In a hat tip to the locked out NHL players, Lovie Smith explained the ailment like hockey coaches typically do, almost going as far as using the term "lower body" injury like his counterpart Joel Quennville.

Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers have each missed practice time this week, but it's nothing to worry about. It's more like the NFL version of senioritis -- mailing in some of the work during the week because you've been around the block quite a bit, and are on a cruise control until graduation time (aka the playoffs).

Though they're only two years apart in age (34 for Urlacher, 32 for Peppers), they're far apart in terms of on-field ability. I take back what I said a few weeks ago in terms of watching the Bears defense. Just watch No. 90. He's lined up at every defensive line position, and wreaked havoc by beating single blocks, drawing double teams, or blowing through two helpless guys endlessly awaiting the whistle to blow. He makes the whole defense better by drawing so much attention wherever he lines up.

Urlacher on the other hand could be in his last season in Chicago. The Bears haven't negotiated a long-term deal with him due to his uncertain health, and the early returns support the team's decision. Urlacher is the defensive version of Peyton Manning this year. He doesn't possess his Hall of Fame caliber speed and coverage anymore (compared to Manning's arm strength), and he's finding himself out of position far too often because he hasn't adjusted to his body not responding. Maybe he'll get healthier as the campaign goes on, but when do guys ever play at 100 percent after half a season of NFL football?

NFL Network's Michael Lombardi was down on the Bears in the preseason during a podcast on Grantland because of how old the Bears have gotten on defense. I don't disagree, but a team can still be successful despite being old. It just lessens the margin of error. I agree with Smith removing Urlacher after they got a big lead in the first game, and hope they continue to do that if the opportunity arises. It's beneficial for two reasons. One, it protects Urlacher from further injuring his bum knee, and two, it gives Nick Roach a change to take some reps in the middle. Lord knows he needs them.

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