In Week 7 action, the Bears get set to face off against a struggling Washington Redskins team (1-4) with aspirations of being 5-2 going into the bye week. Nothing is better than going into a bye week with a victory, but as Broncos (6-0) head coach John Fox stated after struggling against the winless Jaguars, “There is resistance out there. It’s called the opponent.”
That’s exactly what the Redskins are: a hungry opponent desperate for a win. This is a dangerous game for the Bears prior to the bye, but if they mind their P’s and Q’s, they should come away with a victory.
Redskins starting to come to life
The Redskins are not far off. Their running game is churning out 130 yards a game and play-action passes are open. Robert Griffin III just needs to find his rhythm and literally regain his stride. It’s well documented that RGIII is struggling this season after coming back from a significant knee injury sustained during the 2012 playoffs. I have watched all five of RGIII’s games. He does not look comfortable in the pocket passing at all, which is where the Bears' pass rush need to make some hay. Griffin is struggling with guys around his feet. As a quarterback, you need to be oblivious to the pass rush but right now, Griffin is seeing ghosts as a protective mechanism while adjusting to the speed of the game again. Plus, everyone expects RGIII to be Superman, but forget he is only a second year player learning every single snap he takes. As recent as last week’s loss to Dallas, Griffin was slow to diagnose coverage, slow to react, and slow to deliver the football on time, which is causing his inaccuracies. Griffin is completing 59 percent of his passes with 6 touchdowns and 5 interceptions this season.
Bring the heat
Much like I have previously written and stated on CSN Bears Pre and Post-game Live, the Bears may have to blitz more to provide the necessary pressure without defensive tackles, Henry Melton and Nate Collins. The good news is, with a healthier Peanut Tillman, the option of blitzing Griffin becomes more feasible. Blitz equals man-to-man coverage. The health of Tillman will dictate how often the Bears can rely on man-to-man.
Devin Hester could tip the scale in this matchup. He needs to play big. Former Bears linebacker and special teams ace, Keith Burns, was named the Redskins special teams coordinator this season. I played with Keith, but that isn't the only reason I love him. First, Keith is tremendous person. As a player and teammate, you would not ask for a better person at your side. But the fact of the matter is, Keith is still a rookie coach learning the ropes in the NFL. That much was witnessed last week in Dallas. The Redskins got blown up for an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown along with a 90-yard kickoff return, which set up another Dallas touchdown. Both plays were marred with numerous penalties and infractions. That many errors will be difficult for Keith to correct in a one week span.