I never put too much stock in fake football games, but the play of the Bears secondary is disconcerting when you know that the Falcons, Saints & Packers are lurking on the team’s schedule before October. Granted, the Bears haven’t been game planning so far, but they’re far too talented to not thoroughly dominate a hapless Titans team without CJ2K.
As I wrote the other day, Lovie Smith’s defenses have enough of a track record to warrant confidence that the turnovers will be there, but that can’t cover up the porous play of the secondary–at least not when you’re looking at Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, & Aaron Rodgers. It isn’t a problem when you are facing 3rd string bums, but you can’t rely on that this year.
I don’t worry about Charles Tillman except when he gives up inside position on those slant patterns that drive every Bears fan insane. It’s the rest of the unit that will have elite quarterbacks pacing with excitement to get on the field. D.J. Moore can talk all the shit he wants to about being the best hooper in Chicago, but to say he’s always around the ball ignores the fact that it’s because passes are usually completed against him. And no, D.J., you aren’t taking D Rose in hoops.
The same goes for annual training camp hero Zack Bowman and too short aka Tim Jennings. I don’t want to waste too much time on Bowman because he’ll be hurt soon anyway. Jennings might be the ideal cover 2 corner, but like Moore, he is susceptible to fade routes in the red zone against taller receivers like say Calvin Johnson, Roddy White, Marques Colston, & Greg Jennings. All three of the aforementioned quarterbacks are great at play action, which further exposes the cover-2 in the money zone.
The match-up problems a spread look creates can and will murder a cover-2 team like Lovie’s bunch if they don’t create pressure front the front four. Outside of Pepeprs, can we be convinced that quarterbacks will be under duress before picking on this secondary? As much as I like Henry Melton, I need to see it on a consistent basis before I use Jerry Angelo’s anointing oil on him.
We know that Chris Harris covers like he’s wearing cement cleats, and Major Wright is still in the developmental stage. I’m kind of making myself sick thinking about this. Let’s hope Martz knows this and tries to control the ball early on in the season.
I know that the pass rush will vastly improve once Julius Peppers takes off the cruise control button. However, if the Bears have to blitz during the season like they did towards the end of the 1st half vs the Titans, there are going to be a ton of clock eating drives that keep #6 on the sideline.
I’m not trying to overreact to preseason football, but the play of the DB’s is frustrating and worth noting. Every team has weaknesses, but this is likely the Bears last best shot with this defense to win a Super Bowl. The back end will need to carry their weight. Confidence remains high, but if this defense is forced to blitz (which they still suck balls at), they will expose their DB”s even more and find themselves in enough shootouts that will make Lovie’s head combust Ditka style.
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