The reasons why I chose to start this blog came into full view after the Bears’ pre-season loss to the Buffalo Bills on Saturday. The media, and some members of the fan base have a major problem when it comes to watching football games and have a short memory when it comes to watching a game. People tend to focus on the negative and completely gloss over the positive.
So I have to come in here with my platform and add my knowledge and analyze the facts and try to make those as clear as possible for Bears fans and Chicago media types alike. You won’t often get a fair and balanced approach and the media usually likes to stir up crap when nothing exists.
Example would be the Urlacher Cutler story on the first day of camp to the now Jay Cutler putting the blame on Devin Hester for not making a play on the INT that happened in front of him. The media especially in Chicago like to make mountains out of mole hills. We have a mountain and molehill situation right now after this loss.
While the Bears didn’t play a perfect game versus the Bills, it’s important to note a few things.
1) The Bills started practice a week before the Bears did
2) This was the Bills’ second pre-season game
3) The Bears were without three of four starters in the secondary
4) Struggles in the secondary were expected even before Trent Edwards complete 10 of 10 passes, most of the dump off variety.
To hammer home some of my points with the non-believers and the negative nancys already out there, I’ll back up my points.
Trent Edwards’ 10 pass completions out of 10 attempts performance that was good for 79 yards in the game. Edwards had a completion to Lee Evans for 36 yards. Take away Nathan Vasher getting burned, and say it’s 9 out of 9 for 43 yards. Nine completions at 43 yards is an average of slightly less than five yards per completion. There is why Edwards was so accurate in his throws and why it looked like the Bears were getting blitzed via the pass the same way as last year. If Edwards had only completed nine out of nine for 43 yards I don’t think everyone would be as upset as they are now.
Another point of focus, the fourth quarter when the Bills won the game by scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter against the Bears’ scrub defense. Hamdan and Fitzpatrick were a combined 17 out of 24 the previous week against the Tennessee Titans. Against the Bears the pair combined for 18 out of 28 and in both games the Bills made their run in the fourth quarter.
Now would a Bears fan look at that game and that performance by the Titans and level the same amount of criticism towards the Titans? Most certainly not because the Titans have always had a consistently good defense and they get a golden ticket pass go card the old “it’s just the pre-season” excuse.
What we do know by looking through just the stats is that the Bears’ defense did very well against the Bills. Trent Edwards completed many passes of the dink and dunk variety, through a pretty good pass rush. A pass rush the Bears didn’t mount much of last year was evident in this game. The Alex Brown sack came from a great collapse the pocket rush from Israel Idonije up the middle. The move forced Edwards to step to his left right into the waiting arms of Alex Brown. The intensity level of the defensive line was also on another level. Last year the line looked lackadaisical and almost like it didn’t care. The motivation to get a rush and to be aggressive wasn’t there.
Now you can tell that there is Marinelli’s intensity there. From Anthony Adams to rookie Jarron Gilbert and Dusty Dvoracek in between, the line is ready to rock and get pressure.
Also we saw Brian Urlacher shoot a gap and make a tackle the way Urlacher used to. He was also pretty aggressive in coverage as well.
The player of the game on defense was likely Al Afalava. The rookie stepped up early and often in the game and made four tackles overall. His astute instincts and aggressive tackling style looked reminiscent of Mike Brown. All positive signs the direction the defense is heading in for 2009.
Tags: 2009 Chicago Bears training camp, 2009 NFL, 2009 NFL training camp coverage, Al Afalava, Alex Brown, Anthony Adams, Bears vs. Bills game wrap, Brian Urlacher, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bears pre-season games, Chicago Bears training camp, Chicago Bears Training Camp coverage, Chicago Sports, Devin Hester, Dusty Dvoracek, football, Israel Idonijae, Monsters of the Midway, NFL, Sports, Trent Edwards