Chicago Bears

Can Bears' success against Brees continue?

538255.jpg

Can Bears' success against Brees continue?

Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011
Posted: 8:41 a.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
Longtime MLB pitcher Jerry Koosman once scoffed, tongue-in-cheek, at the Hall of Fame success enjoyed by former teammate Tom Seaver.

Seaver was just lucky, Koosman deadpanned. He always got to pitch on the day when the other team wasnt hitting.

So too would seem to be the case with the out-of-fashion CoverTampa-2 defense of Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli.

Its not a very good defense; its just lucky. It always seems to catch quarterbacks when theyre not playing well.

One of the patterns that CSNChicago.com has highlighted as recently as last week with the Bears defense is that opposing QBs consistently play below their standards against the SmithMarinelli scheme. In the Bears 18 games last season, all but Tom Brady, Matt Hasselbeck (twice), Mark Sanchez and Drew Stanton posted passer ratings below, sometimes hugely below, their seasons rating.

Why its worth repeating here is because Drew Brees falls decidedly into that pattern.

Weve faced the Bears three times over the last five years since weve been here, Brees said Wednesday. Obviously that hasnt ended too well for us.

Maybe hes using the collective we and us out of denial. Brees in fact would unquestionably like to forget about all three.

Consider the plight of Brees in games against the Bears, beginning with the NFC Championship game in 06: He is always worse against the Lovie Smith Cover-2 scheme than he is against the rest of the NFL:

YearGame Completion
SeasonRating, game
Rating, season
200655.164.383.296.2200758.367.575.789.4200855.865.067.296.2
(Compiled by CSNChicago.com)

In fairness to Brees, all three were in Soldier Field. This one is in the Superdome.

But Brees unfortunately will be without No. 1 receiver Marques Colston after his broken collarbone suffered in the Green Bay game.

The Bears defense requires patience, and too many quarterbacks dont have it. They want to go down the field against a defense that would like them to try exactly that.

Brees has seen several iterations of the Smith scheme but this one has the potential to bring more pressure to bear on him if he wants to think deep.

Theyve got some of the same personnel but Id say the thing I notice a little bit more are their pressure packages, Brees said. Theyve gotten a little more creative with that and its been to their benefit.

Their bread and butter is still the old Tampa-2 style of defense but they run it so well.

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.

With return to Tennessee looming, football is fun again for Kendall Wright

8-21kendallwright.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

With return to Tennessee looming, football is fun again for Kendall Wright

Sunday will mark Kendall Wright’s first trip back to Nashville since he not-so-amicably split with the Tennessee Titans after the 2016 season. 

Wright has said he doesn’t want to talk about his time in Tennessee, where injuries and clashes with coaches led to a steady decline in targets and production after a standout 2013 season (139 targets, 94 receptions, 1,079 yards). But it’s easy to compare how he feels practicing with the Bears to how he felt toward the end of his days with the Titans. 

“A fresh start is good,” Wright said. “Football is fun again. 

“If you don’t have fun playing the game, what the use of you playing? And I didn’t really have too much fun the past few years. But when you’re out here playing and doing what you love to do, it’s fun. So you just gotta keep the game fun.”

Wright was a little more forceful earlier this year. 

“What motivates me the most is I probably was the best receiver on the Titans roster last year and I was playing, like, 10 plays a game,” Wright said during OTAs in June. 

But while this weekend’s game against the Titans could seem to be an opportunity for revenge, Wright is more approaching it for what it is — another preseason game to continue to improve with the rest of the first team offense. 

Wright caught a touchdown from  Glennon Saturday night in Arizona (he also was the target on Glennon’s interception, though that looked to be more on the quarterback than the receiver). And he seems to be clearly ahead of Victor Cruz to be the team’s No. 1 slot receiver — Cruz wasn’t targeted against Arizona, while Wright received three targets. 

If the Glennon-led first-team offense is going to have success in the regular season, it needs improvements from every unit — quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end and offensive line — based on what we’ve seen during the preseason. Perhaps a motivated, fun-having Wright, playing for the same offensive coordinator under which he had his best season, can be a part of that. 

“The game of football is supposed to be fun,” Wright said. “Don’t take the fun out of it. You just gotta go out there and have fun and make plays. When you’re making plays, it’s even more fun.” 

SportsTalk Live Podcast: John Fox hasn't decided who will get first-team QB reps on Sunday

8-20mitchtrubisky.jpg
USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: John Fox hasn't decided who will get first-team QB reps on Sunday

David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Phil Rogers (MLB.com) and Anthony Herron (670 The Score) join Kap on the panel. 

John Fox hasn’t decided who will get reps with the first-team in Sunday’s all-important third preseason game? Could Mitch Trubisky get a look with the ones?

Javy Baez hustles and scores the winning run for the Cubs. Is his the most entertaining athlete in Chicago? Plus will Nicky Delmonico still be on the White Sox in a few years when they are ready to contend for the postseason?

Listen to the full epidsode here