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 Next up: Chicago Bears 
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Post Re: Next up: Chicago Bears
ESPN wrote:
Double Coverage: Bears at Lions
September, 26, 2013
By Michael Rothstein and Michael C. Wright | ESPN.com


Sunday’s game between the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears has some major implications for both teams a month into the season.

A Chicago win would give the Bears a two-game lead over the rest of the division. If Detroit wins, it would share the early lead with Chicago and give the Lions a potential edge in important tiebreakers when it comes to division titles and potential wild-card berths.

For Detroit, it is a chance for a rare win against the Bears. Chicago has won nine of its past 10 games against the Lions.

ESPN Bears reporter Michael C. Wright and ESPN Lions reporter Michael Rothstein break down some of the keys to the game.

Rothstein: Let’s start here. Chicago has won nine of the past 10 in this series. Is there any sense of overconfidence in the Chicago locker room, or has the Lions' start really kept that down?

Wright: Not at all because the Bears know they could be 0-3 as easily as they became 3-0. Remember, Jay Cutler led the Bears on back-to-back late comebacks to start the season, and they almost let Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh get away from them. So they know how fortunate they are to be the only undefeated team in the division, and they’re not taking the fast start for granted because, remember, just last season the Bears started off 7-1 only to lose five of their last eight to miss the playoffs. This game is essentially for first place in the NFC North. What’s the feeling in the Lions' locker room with such a high-stakes game coming up and the team coming off a big road win at Washington?

Rothstein: That it is early in the season. The players have stressed the importance of divisional games in the past, as has their coach, Jim Schwartz. But the truth is, this game would be a huge deal for Detroit if it won. It would give the Lions early control of the division and a two-game winning streak heading into a place they haven’t won in a long time -- Green Bay. There is definitely confidence in this group and the feeling that it can make enough plays to win games. That said, this is the first time Detroit will see the Bears under new coach Marc Trestman. How much different do the Bears look?

Wright: Chicago definitely features more diversity with formations on offense than it did a year ago, but don’t expect anything elaborate or mind-boggling in terms of actual play calls. Trestman and the offensive staff have been adept at finding weak spots in opposing defenses and drawing up the plays that will work best given the matchup. The biggest difference you’ll see is the improvement in protection, and the fact that Cutler now spreads the ball to other receivers as opposed to relying solely on Brandon Marshall. Because of the improved protection, running back Matt Forte no longer has to stay in and chip-block, and that frees him up to get out on pass routes. So Forte is another weapon for Cutler, as is Martellus Bennett, Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. If teams take away Marshall, Cutler now has plenty of options in the passing game. In the past, the Lions’ front four has given Chicago problems. How potent is Detroit’s defensive line this year with guys like Ziggy Ansah, Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh in the mix?

Rothstein: This group might be the most talented and deepest in the NFL. Suh is having a standout season, even if he isn’t putting up big numbers. His pressure of opposing quarterbacks has forced two interceptions in three games. Plus, the attention that opposing offensive lines place on blocking Suh opens things up for Fairley, Ansah and Willie Young. Ansah has 2.5 sacks and has a high-level speed burst for a defensive end. All of the linemen complement each other well, and that forms a highly productive unit. The biggest key there is the four linemen can pressure quarterbacks on their own, and that allows defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham to scheme differently than normal in the back seven. The Bears appear to have done a good job protecting Cutler this year, at least statistically. Now they face one of the toughest defensive lines in the NFL. What's the strategy for holding up there?

Wright: Chicago showcased its new offense in Week 1 against a formidable Cincinnati Bengals defensive line and allowed only one sack, and the protection held up well Sunday night against a blitzing Pittsburgh front seven. So the Bears feel they’re battle-tested in terms of protection, and obviously a major component of the success they’ve experienced on the offensive line is new additions such as left guard Matt Slauson, rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills on the right side and tight end Martellus Bennett. Schematically, the Bears aid the protection with a faster, more rhythmic passing attack with drops designed to get the ball quickly out of Cutler’s hands. The Lions lost defensive end Jason Jones to a season-ending knee injury, so who’s the next man up, and what does he bring to the table?

Rothstein: It’ll likely be a combination of players, but the immediate answers are veterans Young and Israel Idonije, along with rookie Devin Taylor. Young is having a productive season with 10 tackles, a sack and the ability to pressure the quarterback. Bears fans should be familiar with Idonije, who played in Chicago the past nine seasons. Taylor is the question mark. He’s best known for lining up as the defensive end opposite Jadeveon Clowney at South Carolina, but he is extremely athletic and could be a matchup problem if he can get over his inexperience. Shifting to Chicago’s defense, working with the assumption Reggie Bush plays Sunday, how would you anticipate Chicago defending the Lions?

Wright: The Bears won’t deviate from playing their standard 4-3 over front, where the focus is penetration and gap control. Bush is certainly a dynamic threat on the edges in the passing game, but the Bears probably won’t experience much difficulty handling him because they’ve dramatically improved the athleticism of the linebacking corps with the additions of James Anderson and D.J. Williams to play alongside Lance Briggs. So they won’t put in any new wrinkles. If anything, the Bears will probably just focus more this week on defending the screen game, and accomplishing that task will also involve the club’s athletic defensive linemen such as Julius Peppers. Bush said he could’ve played against the Redskins. What’s the latest on his injury situation, and what does he add to Detroit’s offense?

Rothstein: I would be very surprised if Bush did not play Sunday -- especially now that wide receiver Nate Burleson is out for the foreseeable future. The Lions' offense is just so much different with Bush in the lineup -- whether he lines up in the backfield, out wide or in the slot. His ability to accelerate out of screens, dump-off passes and if he gets a small crease in the backfield is a skill few players in the NFL have. That Detroit has him along with the league’s best overall wide receiver in Calvin Johnson offers a tough matchup to defend when both are healthy. One of Chicago’s biggest playmakers is Devin Hester. Is he returning to early career form in that area, or was that more of a coverage issue by opponents?

Wright: Hester isn’t thinking as much, and he’s a fresher player than in years past because he’s no longer playing receiver, which has allowed him to focus solely on duties as a return man. Shortly after Trestman took the head-coaching job, Hester indicated to the coach a desire to focus solely on special teams. From there, Trestman said he “was all in” with the move. Hester no longer spends time during the week in offensive meetings with the receivers. The club has allowed him to concentrate exclusively on contributing as a special-teamer, and that’s paid dividends. Detroit’s biggest playmaker is Calvin Johnson. Given all the attention teams give him, how important has it been for the Lions to diversify distribution of the ball in the passing game?

Rothstein: It has been key, although it’ll be interesting to see how that changes now that Burleson is out. The obvious option is receiver Ryan Broyles, who played for the first time this season against Washington this past weekend. He is almost definitely going to receive more snaps and more targets. The other option could be an increased role for tight ends Joseph Fauria and Tony Scheffler. They both have receiving skills for tight ends, and at 6-foot-7, Fauria has already turned into an enticing red zone target. Now he may end up on the field in more than just scoring situations.

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September 26th, 2013, 2:45 pm
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Post Re: Next up: Chicago Bears
Odd article.

I agree pretty much with the broad idea (ie I think Cutler and Stafford are similar standard - I think Staff has more potential, so I wouldn't trade them straight up at all, but their level right now is similar IMO) but disagree a lot with the arguments used to get there.

The Pett example has already been brought up. As another: "The fact that Jay is more mobile than Stafford but was sacked 9 more times despite throwing far fewer passes reveals part of the reason his numbers haven’t blown off the charts. Throw in the fact that Cutler played in nearly 2 fewer games and this appears even more troubling" - the lower passes attempted stat already factors in the games missed, so there's nothing extra to "throw in".

So, yeah: pretty biased arguments, yet an ok conclusion IMO.

EDIT: referring to IE's article, rather than Wags'


September 26th, 2013, 2:47 pm
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Post Re: Next up: Chicago Bears
I.E. wrote:
millam21 wrote:
The article calls Pettigrew a "legitimate" tight end? His only legitimate talent is dropping the ball. He can't catch a cold or hang on to herpes. I've always thought counting wins and losses in arguments about players is flawed since this is a team game. It is fair to say Cutler has accomplished more in his career. Anyone who questions his toughness doesn't know the game.


Oh yeah... good catch on Pettigrew. What a disappointment he turned out to be (kinda like Finley in GB). I do like both Scheffler and Fauria though ... although Scheffler is more of a big WR, like Greg Olsen. Fauria is hilarious.



Didnt get to read article yet, but you cant really Compare Forte to the Lions RBs either.


September 26th, 2013, 6:15 pm
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Post Re: Next up: Chicago Bears
UK Lion wrote:
Odd article.

I agree pretty much with the broad idea (ie I think Cutler and Stafford are similar standard - I think Staff has more potential, so I wouldn't trade them straight up at all, but their level right now is similar IMO) but disagree a lot with the arguments used to get there.

The Pett example has already been brought up. As another: "The fact that Jay is more mobile than Stafford but was sacked 9 more times despite throwing far fewer passes reveals part of the reason his numbers haven’t blown off the charts. Throw in the fact that Cutler played in nearly 2 fewer games and this appears even more troubling" - the lower passes attempted stat already factors in the games missed, so there's nothing extra to "throw in".

So, yeah: pretty biased arguments, yet an ok conclusion IMO.

EDIT: referring to IE's article, rather than Wags'


The "throw in" comment was pointing out that when there are trends, extension of the trends will emphasize the result. It is saying Cutler has done more with less - so if he played the 2 extra games then statistically the relative success gap between them would have increased even more. That's just an assumption - but that was the point.

DJ-B wrote:
I.E. wrote:
millam21 wrote:
The article calls Pettigrew a "legitimate" tight end? His only legitimate talent is dropping the ball. He can't catch a cold or hang on to herpes. I've always thought counting wins and losses in arguments about players is flawed since this is a team game. It is fair to say Cutler has accomplished more in his career. Anyone who questions his toughness doesn't know the game.


Oh yeah... good catch on Pettigrew. What a disappointment he turned out to be (kinda like Finley in GB). I do like both Scheffler and Fauria though ... although Scheffler is more of a big WR, like Greg Olsen. Fauria is hilarious.



Didnt get to read article yet, but you cant really Compare Forte to the Lions RBs either.


The article was more about the pass game than running game - but Forte's role is an interesting angle to the discussion. Forte is extremely talented, but his numbers aren't what they should be given a guy of his talent. That also speaks to the weakness of the Bear Olines and offensive plan over the past several years, because Forte was forced out of necessity to be a legit blocker and/or decoy rather than a dynamic duel threat outlet pass guy like a Roger Craig or a Marshall Faulk (guys he's been compared to, skill wise). It just speaks to the dysfunction of the Bear offense in prior years. He should put up 1800 yards from scrimmage this year, give or take (if healthy).


September 26th, 2013, 10:12 pm
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Post Re: Next up: Chicago Bears


Link: http://www.chicagotribune.com/media/acr ... 132759.pdf


Last edited by TheRealWags on September 27th, 2013, 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

added PDF viewer



September 26th, 2013, 11:14 pm
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Post Re: Next up: Chicago Bears
Fixed it for ya alpha.

A PDF needs posted as an IMG.

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September 26th, 2013, 11:18 pm
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Post Re: Next up: Chicago Bears
I tried it as IMG but it did not work so I did it as URL but if you fixed it when I thought it was me Thank you.


September 26th, 2013, 11:21 pm
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Post Re: Next up: Chicago Bears
Four out of 5 of nfl.com's weekly pickers picked the Lions: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap200000 ... -nfl-games

Surprised it was so one sided :shock:


September 27th, 2013, 5:53 am
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Post Re: Next up: Chicago Bears
UK Lion wrote:
Four out of 5 of nfl.com's weekly pickers picked the Lions: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap200000 ... -nfl-games

Surprised it was so one sided :shock:


Even more surprising since the Lions are home under dogs.


September 27th, 2013, 8:26 am
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Post Re: Next up: Chicago Bears
BillySims wrote:
UK Lion wrote:
Four out of 5 of nfl.com's weekly pickers picked the Lions: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap200000 ... -nfl-games

Surprised it was so one sided :shock:


Even more surprising since the Lions are home under dogs.


I haven't watched the line - has it moved down? It started with Lions -3.

I'm not surprised - the Lions are a good team. Should be a close game, I think.

I think I'd also be the over.


September 27th, 2013, 9:09 am
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Post Re: Next up: Chicago Bears
I.E. wrote:
BillySims wrote:
UK Lion wrote:
Four out of 5 of nfl.com's weekly pickers picked the Lions: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap200000 ... -nfl-games

Surprised it was so one sided :shock:


Even more surprising since the Lions are home under dogs.


I haven't watched the line - has it moved down? It started with Lions -3.

I'm not surprised - the Lions are a good team. Should be a close game, I think.

I think I'd also be the over.


I don't know. I don't follow the Vegas odds either. I just heard someone on Sirius NFL radio say the Lions were home dogs this week. I had no reason to believe that was false.


September 27th, 2013, 9:19 am
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Post Re: Next up: Chicago Bears
Freep wrote:
Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson: It's easy to dislike Chicago Bears
September 27, 2013

Calvin Johnson, by nature, is quiet and reserved when he speaks. He isn’t given to making pronouncements about opponents.

But Chicago is different. Johnson admitted Thursday that he just plain doesn’t like the Bears or their fans.

Oh, and Johnson also came darn close to saying the Lions would win the NFC North showdown Sunday at Ford Field.

“It’s easy to have a dislike for them,” the Detroit Lions’ star receiver said. “It’s not hard at all.

“Can’t stand them, one, because they’re filling up the stadium a lot with a lot of Bears fans. So that’s one reason I can’t stand them.

“But we’re going to have a good showing this week. We’ve had two good practices this week. Guys are focused in and, like I say, we don’t like those guys. So it’s going to be a good little showdown.”

Johnson just hopes it isn’t a shutdown, like last year. The 2012 Bears were one of the few teams that solved the Megatron mystery and held Johnson to 106 receiving yards in two games. That is Johnson’s lowest careeroutput against the Bears since he played them only once as a rookie.

Over Johnson’s career, the Bears have done the best job by far against him among division opponents. The key to Chicago’s success has been patience and strong zone coverage.

“They just make you beat them,” he said. “They want to make the offense make a mistake, make you work your way all the way down the field, dump it off five, 10 yards at a time. Usually offenses will make mistakes.

“And that’s one area I think we’ve grown in. We’ve cut out some of those foolish penalties.”

BURLESON UPBEAT: Coach Jim Schwartz would not put a timetable on the return of receiver Nate Burleson, whose surgery Wednesday to repair two broken bones in his left forearm went well.

“Like I said before, he’ll be back,” Schwartz said. “How long it takes, we really don’t know.”

Johnson spoke with Burleson and said his teammate’s spirits were improving.

“Nate’s doing good,” Johnson said. “Nate’s still the chipper guy we all know. So we’ll see him soon.”

Johnson also said Ryan Broyles, who made his season debut at Washington, has stepped up to fill Burleson’s role as a slot receiver and the entire corps is working to fill the void.

“Broyles is getting a lot more burn,” Johnson said of Broyles’ burgeoning speed. “He’s loving it because he just wants to be back out on the field. And (Kris) Durham’s over there, he’s handling his business, he’s getting more and more experience every game.”

INJURY UPDATE: Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (knee), cornerback Chris Houston (hand) and Hilliard (groin) all made their first appearance on the practice report this week and were limited. Johnson (knee) and guard Rob Sims (shoulder) returned and were limited.

Contact Carlos Monarrez: cmonarrez@freepress.com . Follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

Beat writer Dave Birkett will answer your Lions questions in a live chat at 10 a.m. Friday at freep.com/sports. Submit early questions here. Then join special writer Nick Meyer for a live blog of the Lions-Bears game Sunday. Enter here to win tickets to the Thanksgiving game. And play NFL Pick 'Em each week to win valuable cashand prizes.


http://www.freep.com/article/20130927/S ... rs-dislike

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September 27th, 2013, 11:49 am
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Post Re: Next up: Chicago Bears
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“Can’t stand them, one, because they’re filling up the stadium a lot with a lot of Bears fans. So that’s one reason I can’t stand them."


That's disappointing. At first I thought he was just pandering. But now I know he's just kinda dumb.

So he hates fans for being fans, instead of hating fair-weather fans for not being fans of his team?


September 27th, 2013, 12:05 pm
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Post Re: Next up: Chicago Bears
I.E. wrote:
Quote:
“Can’t stand them, one, because they’re filling up the stadium a lot with a lot of Bears fans. So that’s one reason I can’t stand them."


That's disappointing. At first I thought he was just pandering. But now I know he's just kinda dumb.

So he hates fans for being fans, instead of hating fair-weather fans for not being fans of his team?


What part of getting booed at in your own stadium should he like? To make matters worse even some Lions fans boo their own team.

How do you know he doesn't hate fair weather fans also? Where did fair weather fans come in to that article?

Don't take it personal just because your a Bears fan. He is obviously just pandering to Lions fans.


September 27th, 2013, 12:24 pm
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Post Re: Next up: Chicago Bears
I.E. wrote:
Quote:
“Can’t stand them, one, because they’re filling up the stadium a lot with a lot of Bears fans. So that’s one reason I can’t stand them."


That's disappointing. At first I thought he was just pandering. But now I know he's just kinda dumb.

So he hates fans for being fans, instead of hating fair-weather fans for not being fans of his team?
Interesting interpretation...sounds to me like he'd rather have the seats filled with Lions fans than Bears fans...

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September 27th, 2013, 12:24 pm
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