Moon: Bears defense can stop Vick

Moon: Bears defense can stop Vick

Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010
12:45 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Dropped in for the weekly chat with Mac and Spiegs on The Danny Mac Show on WSCR-AM 670 a little while ago and theres no shortage of things to visit on when something like the Michael Vick Experience is coming to town.

But I threw out with the guys the fact that while Vick is leading the NFL with a passer rating of 108.7, and has thrown 11 TD passes vs. zero INTs, this is a player who has never had a full-season rating above 82 or a completion percentage even as high as 56.

Vick may indeed be nothing like the athlete he was in those sometimes-erratic years but he is not going to go through 2010 without an interception, nor completing 63 percent of his passes. The Bears are good enough defensively to trouble Vick into mistakes and my early guess is that he will give the Bears one or two on Sunday.

Spiegs raised the specter of the Philadelphia defense, which has gotten totally short shrift amid VickMania. Check the next item here in the blog for why the Eagle defense vs. Jay CutlerMike Martz may be the bigger key to the outcome.

Well talk again next week and Danny wondered if well be talking about the 8-3 Bears or the 7-4 Bears preparing for a trip to Detroit. I dont feel overly good about making a call against an Eagles team that has been increasingly solid as this season has worn on but I like what the Bears have been doing defensively with gap integrity, which is the absolute needed for dealing with Vick.

Early call: Bears in a surprisingly low-scoring game against Philadelphias 28.4-ppg offense.

Ominous numbers

CSNPhilly.com colleague Reuben Frank has some analysis that should seriously concern the Bears. Reuben notes that the Eagles were among the NFLs poorest at stopping the run through the first quarter of the season but have since been one of the best at stopping what has become a critical part of the new Mike Martz offense.

Philadelphia was giving up 139 rushing yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry through its 2-2 start. Over the last six games the Eagles have allowed only 74 yards per game and 3.6 per carry. Just for purposes of comparison, the Bears defense that has drawn so many plaudits of late has given up an average of 78.7 over its last six games.

As notable inside the numbers, Reuben points out that the run-committed New York Giants, who average 32 rushes per game, gave up running the ball in last Sunday nights loss to the Eagles and ran the ball just three times in the second half.

The Bears have run the ball 30-plus times in the last three games, a rare stretch for a Martz offense. The Bears stayed with the run despite modest per-carry success against Miami, Minnesota and Buffalo whether Martz and Mike Tice, whose input is more than apparent in the game plans and execution, have the resolve to stay with the run against an elite run defense might be the key to the Bears keeping Michael Vick in an Eagles cape on the sideline rather than the Superman cape hes suspected of wearing on the field
Face time

Looking forward to sitting in with William Jackson on Bears Blitz today at 5 p.m. Billy Jack is a long-time football guy and always good to swap thoughts with.

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.

Bears looking into Teryl Austin’s past for clues on how Lions will scheme vs. Matt Barkley

Bears looking into Teryl Austin’s past for clues on how Lions will scheme vs. Matt Barkley

The adage “play the man, not the board” seems somehow appropriate for what the Bears are doing to prepare for the Detroit Lions behind quarterback Matt Barkley.

“The man” is Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, and the Bears have been scouting him as well as his defenses, beyond just Bears games, beyond this season and last, taking in his 2014 Detroit season when Austin prepared defenses for Jay Cutler and Jimmy Clausen.

How did Austin scheme for rookie Carson Wentz when the Lions played (and beat) the Philadelphia Eagles? How did he structure is defense to stop a rookie Teddy Bridgewater when Detroit played Minnesota? (Not very well, apparently, since the Vikings won both games and scored 54 points combined in the two games).

While the John Fox Bears staff went against Austin’s Lions defense twice last year, Cutler was the Bears quarterback. When the Bears beat Austin and the Lions two months ago, it was with Brian Hoyer.

Now the Bears quarterback is Matt Barkley, who has fewer NFL games played (seven) than Cutler has NFL seasons (11), Hoyer (eight), too, for that matter.

“Different defensive coordinators attack young quarterbacks differently,” said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. “Some guys blitz, some guys play a bunch of zone. This group on defense there, they have a really good defensive coordinator, they're really smart, they do a bunch of stuff. On the back end, they run all the coverages.

“As a game, we'll have to make adjustments as the game goes and see what their plan to come out is early.”

Coaches and players may talk about how they prepare for a scheme irrespective of which opposing quarterback, running back, linebacker or whatever they will be facing. But in fact, preparations start with who is orchestrating the opponent’s offense or defense – play the man, not the board.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

A risk can be out-thinking yourself trying to anticipate what a coordinator will do. The first point, Loggains said, is to start with your own strengths.

“We definitely look at that,” Loggains said. “As you go in the league long and longer, you face these guys, you see them in crossover games. We always know how a guy attacks a rookie quarterback or attacks a young quarterback, a veteran, or, in Matt's case, a guy who hasn't played as much.”

Evaluations of Barkley’s performance will broaden, particularly now that he is on tape for defensive coordinators to scheme for and scout. And while they are watching Barkley, the Bears are watching them.

Bears Talk Podcast: Is there friction between John Fox and Vic Fangio?

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Bears Talk Podcast: Is there friction between John Fox and Vic Fangio?

In the latest Bears Talk Podcast, Jim Miller joins Pat Boyle to discuss the friction between John Fox and Vic Fangio. And are there changes in store for the Bears coordinators?

Plus, Brian Urlacher and Mark Schanowski break down the play of rookie Leonard Floyd and find out which one of Urlacher’s former teammates Floyd reminds him of.

And don't miss a preview of Sunday’s NFC North clash with the Lions, who will be out for revenge.

Check out the latest edition of the Bears Talk Podcast here: