15 on 6: Cutler understands Bears-Packers rivalry

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15 on 6: Cutler understands Bears-Packers rivalry

Friday, Sept. 24, 2010
4:45 PM

By Jim Miller
CSNChicago.com

Just got off air for Sirius NFL Radio. I could not have been more fired up to chat with Jay Cutler, who joined us on air today. To give you a little background about this weekend's matchup, I asked Jay last year, when he arrived in Chicago, if he realized what BearsPackers represented? After all, the start of his Bears career kicked off Week 1 against the dreaded rival Packers. I could tell by his response, he was not prepared for what he was getting into. He acknowledged as much in a follow-up interview later in the year. The promise of a coach, the backlash of the fans, and former players with plenty of analysis.

What a difference a year makes. The most storied rivalry in football resumes Monday Night with a Bears QB at the helm who now understands the gravity of the game. Jay mentioned he never experienced a game with as much intensity and hype in the AFC West. San Diego was the team to beat, but Kansas City was historically always Denver's rival. The Raiders assumed that mantle because of Mike Shanahan's hatred of Al Davis. My point is, rivalries cannot be manufactured. Bears vs. Green Bay is the most pure, historical, emotional and intense a match-up that can never be duplicated. You have to experience it, to understand what it truly means and how deep it goes.

Green Bay D

Slow down Clay Matthews! Jay talked about why he has backpedaled from underneath the center quite a bit in the first two games. Sometimes you just need to see what is going on! Facing Kyle Vandenboesch, DeMarcus Ware and now Clay Matthews, look for that to continue. Matthews has six sacks after two games, the first Packer ever to accomplish that feat. Sometimes, I expect Clay to be completely unblocked to set up a screen to his side. The Bears have been very impressive with their screen game this year. Backpedaling out allows Jay more comfort seeing hot reads and anticipating throws.

No Huddle

I would expect a no huddle at some point from the Bears or a lot of quick content. Line up and go! It is problematic for Green Bay. When I ran the scout team for the Steelers, our defensive coordinator Dom Capers and linebackers coach Dick Labeau were starting to forge their careers on defense. They hated no huddle and quick count. The strength of Dom's 3-4 defense is their pre-snap look is very different than their post-snap reality. They want to show one thing and do something entirely different as the cadence moves along to the snap. No huddle and quick count will force Green Bay to line up into their final defensive look. The Bears can force Green Bay to show their hand, and now Jay can call a favorable play at the line of scrimmage.

Jim Miller, an 11-year former NFL quarterback, is a Comcast SportsNet Bears analyst who can be seen each week on U.S. Cellular Bears Postgame Live. Miller, who spent five seasons with the Bears, analyzes current Chicago QB Jay Cutler in his "15 on 6" blog on CSNChicago.com and can be followed on Twitter @15miller.

Three Bears necessities to lay a broom on the Lions

Three Bears necessities to lay a broom on the Lions

If the Lions beat the Bears in Detroit, it'd be a recent rarity. No, not the Bears losing, but in this long series that reaches 175 games Sunday. One team or the other has swept the season series 11 of the last 12 years (the lone exception being 2011). The 17-14 Bears win Oct. 2 ended a string of six consecutive losses to their division rivals. At that point, both clubs were 1-3. The Bears have remained at that pace since, while the Lions have taken off, winning seven of eight.

It was Brian Hoyer's steady hand that guided that win, while a Vic Fangio defense missing Eddie Goldman, Pernell McPhee and Danny Trevathan forced Matthew Stafford into easily his worst game of the season.

1. STAY COMMITTED

That first meeting was Jordan Howard's first start, and his first 100-yard game, and the rook ran it 23 times for the first of five 100-yard rushing efforts (113). And since the two Bears touchdowns were scored by a couple of players who won't suit up Sunday (Eddie Royal and Zach Miller, from a quarterback who also won't be suiting up), keep feeding the beast. He's 117 yards from reaching the 1,000-yard mark (after just a dozen carries the first three games), and another 100-yard effort would give him the most for a rookie in Bears franchise history.

2. A FASTER START FOR MATT

...meaning Barkley, not Stafford. The Bears want to avoid a faster start by Stafford and the home offense, which was held to just one first down and 14 total plays on their first four possessions back in October. As Barkley makes his first NFL road start in a dome, he and his offensive teammates need to get out of the gate quicker than they have the last two home games. Before they got things rolling on the final drive of the first half against the San Francisco 49ers, they had four possessions that totaled 14 plays, 27 net yards and two first downs. In Barkley's first start two weeks ago against the Tennessee Titans, they surrounded one 13-play touchdown drive in the opening half with five possessions, totaling 16 plays, 108 yards, three first downs, and an interception.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

3. HOO-RATIO

The Bears have lost the turnover battle in eight of their 12 games, and just twice have they won it. One of those instances was in Week 4. For a team that has just five interceptions all year, against a quarterback who's thrown just five picks, two came in the first meeting on the lakefront. And those picks were by (....wait for it....) Deiondre Hall (the rookie who'll play for the first time since that game), and Jacoby Glenn, who's now back on the practice squad. Now, yes, Stafford is a different beast in his den, and there's a completely different confidence level now for the NFC North leaders. But what if the defense can pull an encore? And can Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks pick up where they left off against another mobile quarterback? The Bears had just two sacks in the first meeting, registered by (....wait for it....) Mitch Unrein and Cornelius Washington.

** Finish up your snow removal by 11 a.m. Plop yourself in front of CSN, and watch ex-Bears Lance Briggs, Jim Miller and Alex Brown join Chris for Bears Pregame Live. Then as soon as the second quarter ends on CBS, log on here to CSNChicago.com as Jim and Chris break down the first 30 minutes and go over second half adjustments on Bears Halftime Live. Finally, as soon as the team's start sharing handshakes, flip back to CSN as the three ex-Bears and Chris provide 90 minutes of reaction, analysis, press conferences and locker room interviews from Detroit on Bears Postgame Live. **

Complete Bears-Lions coverage on CSN

Complete Bears-Lions coverage on CSN

The Bears and Detroit Lions square off Sunday at noon and CSN Chicago has you covered along the way.

Check out a schedule of Sunday's events:

— Meijer Bears Pregame Live with Chris Boden, Lance Briggs, Alex Brown and Jim Miller airs at 11 a.m. on CSN.

— Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Bears Halftime Live streaming live on CSNChicago.com and ChicagoBears.com.

— State Farm Bears Postgame Live airing immediately after the game on CSN.

Important Twitter follows:

— John "Moon" Mullin (@CSNMoonMullin), CSNChicago

— Bears Talk (@CSNBears), CSNChicago

— Kip Lewis (@CSNKipLewis), CSNChicago

— Chris Boden (@CSNBoden), CSNChicago