Got the Bears at our place this time. Here’s five questions with Mike Burzawa of Bear Goggles On…
1. Brian Urlacher’s out for this game. Have we seen the last of him in a Bears uniform? Or in any NFL uniform?
A: Urlacher’s contract expires at the end of the season, which has led to a lot of people speculating that he’s done as a Bear after suffering another leg injury. He’s been slowed by a bad knee from the Bears’ Week 17 showdown in Minneapolis last season. Why can’t you guys give him some of that magic balm that you gave Adrian Peterson?
I think it’s more likely that he is completely done than seeing him in another uniform. Assuming he wants to come back and play next season, he can test the free agent market but what value will a 34 year old middle linebacker who can’t run any more have? I doubt any other team would offer more to an over-the-hill linebacker not named Ray Lewis. He’s most valuable to the Bears because he knows the scheme and his leadership and presence in the locker room are valued by the the organization. Is somehow the Bears totally collapse and miss the playoffs, Lovie Smith will be gone and all bets are off.
2. The Bears protected Cutler pretty well in game 1, allowing only one sack which wasn’t even a sack cause he tripped over a lineman’s foot. How were they able to pull this off after all the dire reports on the offensive line?
A: The Bears have been trying to mix things up quite a bit over the last couple of weeks to keep Jay Cutler upright. They’ve been changing up their pass routes to shorten them up so Jay can get rid of the ball more quickly. They’ve also done a lot more max protect to help the beleaguered offensive line. They’ll have a tough time on Sunday in the noisy Metrodome. Didn’t Chad Greenway urge Viking fans to get good and liquored up to make for a rowdier environment?
I have a bad feeling the Bears will have a tough time on Sunday with memories of Jared Allen trying to break the single season sack record last year in the dome. I’m setting the over/under on Bears false starts at 3.5. Whatchya got?
3. You have Jay Cutler and we have Christian Ponder. Admit it. You feel sorry for us.
But Christian Ponder has Samantha Steele and Jay Cutler has Kristin Cavallari, so we’ll call it a wash.
I was pretty surprised when the Vikings pulled the trigger on Ponder in the first round of the draft of couple of years ago. He looks overmatched every Sunday and the Vikings haven’t done him any favors with the weapons around him. With Percy Harvin out, they don’t have much of a passing game. I expect the Vikings will be on the market for a QB again. Anyone heading down to Kiln, Mississippi this offseason?
Cutler’s image comeback tour is still in full swing after it hit rock bottom in the NFC Championship game a couple of years ago. It only took one game with Jason Campbell under center to see the value that Jay Cutler brings to the table. He and Brandon Marshall are set to blow up a lot of Bears passing and receiving records, which have been around since the days of Sid Luckman.
4. The Seahawks really seemed to expose the Bears’ defense. Any concerns on that side of the ball as we proceed?
Oh, heck yes I’m concerned and so are many Bears fans. The defense really showed their age last week as Russell Wilson ran circles around them. When it mattered most, the Bears allowed the Seahawks to drive 97 and then 80 yards on consecutive 12 play drives at the end of regulation and in OT. That’s very uncharacteristic of this defense. Was it age? Was it a lack of preparation? The Bears had a number of chances to get themselves off the field and failed to do it.
In order to win on Sunday, they’ll need to bottle up Adrian Peterson, plain and simple. The Vikes are pretty one-dimensional right now, so unless they dust off some trick plays or a Wildcat, the Bears should be able to hold them down.
5. What did you think of the Lance Louis hit? Clean? Dirty?
That’s the type of hit that will make you jump up off your couch and give a big “BOOOM!” if your guy delivers it and make you crumple in your seat if it’s against your guy. By the letter of the law, Allen launched himself, making it illegal. The fact that Louis blew out his knee in the process is unfortunate but I don’t think Allen was trying to injure Louis. I expect the Bears will go after Allen in a legal way, running a few wham blocks and maybe a few chops at him.
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