Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010
By John Mullin
If youre planning on attending Sundays Bears-Philadelphia Eagles game, be prepared for wind burn. Not wind chill; wind burn.
The game will feature Devin Hester and Johnny Knox on the Bears side and DeSean Jackson for the Eagles.
Jackson, selected to the Pro Bowl as a wide receiver and returner, tied an NFL record last year with eight touchdowns of 50 yards or more and was second in the NFL with 18.5 yards per catch. This year hes increased that to 19.8 per reception and scored five times.
Not to be outdone, Knox is tied with Jackson for catches of 20 yards or longer with 11. But Jackson is averaging nearly 10 yards more per 20-yarder (43.5 yards to Knoxs 33.9) and leading the NFL for long-distance strikes.
The worry for the Bears is that one out of every Jackson catch this year is going for more than 20 yards. Knox is at nearly 30 percent and averaging 18.2 yards on his 37 catches this year.
Jackson is explosive, Eagles coach Andy Reid agreed, then laughed. But youve got a couple right there in Chicago that are pretty stinkin explosive. Theres going to be a little speed on that field, as there was last year, and Jeremy Maclins not chopped liver. He can run too. Theres going to be a little speed there on both sides.
What is of some concern for the Bears is not the speed, the catches or even the yardage. Its the scoring. Maclin (7 TDs) and Jackson (5) each have more touchdowns than all Bears wide receivers combined (4).
The situation is similar on the running side. Both LeSean McCoy (6) and Michael Vick (5) have as many rushing touchdowns as Bears running backs and quarterbacks combined (5).
Much has been made about a Bears coaching staff that includes four head coaches (Lovie Smith, Mike Martz, Rod Marinelli, Mike Tice) but the Philadelphia Eagles arent far behind in staff seniority.
Besides Reid, the longest-tenured head coach in the NFC (12 years) and second only to Tennessees Jeff Fisher (15) in the NFL, the Eagles also have former Bear leader Dick Jauron as senior assistantdefensive backs, and Marty Mornhinweg as assistant head coachoffensive coordinator. Mornhinweg coached the Detroit Lions in 2001-2002 and was offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers in the four seasons prior to that.
Mornhinweg has coached four quarterbacks who have gone to Pro Bowls Brett Favre, Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb, Steve Young. And a recount may be demanded if that list does not grow by one with Michael Vick this season.
Indeed, Mornhinweg is getting significant credit for helping turn Vick from an athlete who plays quarterback to a quarterback who is an ultimate athlete. Vick had played previously for Dan Reeves and Jim Mora in addition to coordinator Greg Knapp but the thing Vick did was he took a little more mature attitude towards it and the fundamentals and then theres Marty, Reid said.
Hes our offensive coordinator but hes also a phenomenal quarterback coach. Whether its a right hander or a left hander, Marty can relate to you because of his experience with Steve Young. Steve had mobility and was very accurate in this offense. Marty broke it down for him fundamentallybut it really comes down to the kid wanting to do it and thats what Michael wanted to do. He wanted to get better fundamentally.
John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.