Three-Point Stance

So I watched every snap from the starting units in slow motion this morning.  Why?  (1) I'm a football nerd.  (2) I don't like other people telling me about linemen play.  Here's my three responses to the both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

Offense
  • As Jay Cutler rolls to his right and fires deep down the field to Devin Hester, something goes slightly unnoticed.  Matt Forte was not only wide open in the flat but there wasn't a defender within ten yards of him.  Cutler never looked.  Didn't care.  It's those kinds of decisions that are going to both thrill and frustrate fans for the entire season but it's also those kinds of decisions that lead to big plays and lots of points.
  • David Haugh thinks Frank Omiyale was one of three Bears who helped themselves but I didn't see it.  Sure, Frank buried Giants' backup middle linebacker Chase Blackburn on Forte's touchdown run but for the remainder of his time on the field he looked a bit slow and out of position.  The Bears also had no push from the middle of the offensive line and - while that isn't all on Yale - he didn't help.
  • The rest of this summer is about one player: Devin Hester.  Hester and Cutler must get on the same page or the number one project will be relegated to gadget plays and go routes.  The Bears had the most exciting weapon in the sport and it's starting to look like they gave it up for a diet version of Peerless Price.  
Defense
  • I'm going to give Tommie Harris a pass but his performance last night was terrible.  Lined up against a backup guard, #91 came out of every stance slow and was never near making a play.  Tommie has three weeks to get into game shape for Green Bay and - right now - he's not close.
  • David Haugh was right about Pisa Tinoisamoa.  He is the team's strongside linebacker.  There were a series of about six plays where Pisa was in on every single tackle, assisting both Urlacher and Briggs in bringing down the dominant Brandon Jacobs.  I knew he was a good tackler but I didn't know about his speed.  Hard not to be excited about this linebacking corps (And no, I'm not going to go crazy about Urlacher being trampled by BJ.)
  • I think Rod Marinelli is going to transition Alex Brown from a very good player to great one.  AB has always been a favorite of mine but last night he had an unending motor and gave David Diehl everything he could handle.  The way he used those big paws to gain position and ultimately get to Eli Manning was a work of art.
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  • Couldn't agree more on your Hester take. I've always been skepticle of this plan. In my mind Devin is a HOFer as return man, and a average player as a WR. His lack of instincts and football IQ were on display last night big time.

  • I would love to be a fly on the wall for a JC conversation with DH on that one during gamefilm day. That play reminded me of the sure touch down pass that bounced off DH's head a season or two ago. Either way, if he doesnt improve, maybe they better get him more time at the kick off punt returns again. There is no excuse for him, the only excuse is that he doesnt have the talent in that position.

    The irony is that had we left him as a db, maybe he would be helping us a lot more in that area now.

    I am not giving up on him, but I hope that it doesnt press too much in his tiny head because last year when that happened and he was thinking too much, it resulted in lame returns. Lets hope that this doesnt result in lame receivng in the same way.

    Going to Denver next week will be a good test for an away game with pressure. A good precursor to the GB game on opening day.

  • I think overall, you could look at any game and pick a player who had both good and bad moments. The coaching staff calls them pluses and minuses. Reviewing the game is difficult for the laymen who a. doesn't know what play is called or supposed to be called and b. doesn't necessarily know what the responsibility of said player was. That being said, I'll give you my take on what I saw from those players the second time around.

    1. Things worked out for Jay Cutler tonight. He found Earl Bennett on a couple big passing plays that could have easily been intercepted had Jay possess a lesser arm. That big arm has always and will continue to give him the confidence to squeeze the ball into spaces most QBs wouldn't dream of. Jay is out there to make big plays, not dink and dunk down the field. There were also a couple of other passes that could have easily been picked, but then again the deep ball to Devin could have (and should have) resulted in a 91 yard TD pass.

    Devin Hester is still learning the nuances of becoming a WR, and clearly this is not an overnight project. In fact, Devin will probably need another year or two before he reaches the top of his game. Yes he should have come up with that deep ball, but then again he's never had a QB who could chuck it down the field like that. I think he's used to having to slow up when he's that far downfield when the QB releases the ball. I think he'll figure it out, but it might take a little longer than we might like. The Bears made a huge risk reward move with Hester trying to convert him from KR to WR. Let;s hope for everyone's sake that risk pays off.

    Frank Omiyale is not a hulking guard who is going to constantly manhandle the opposing defensive tackles, and that's not what the Bears want from him either. Frank is a nice combination of size and strength who should be able to utilize his athleticism to pull out in front of RBs and WRs and clear the way in the second level. I have a feeling we're going to see a lot of zero and 1 yard gains from Forte when the defense sells out on the run, but when Cutler starts hitting passes downfield and the defense moves back, it'll allow the blockers to get into the second level and spring the double deuce for big gains. Remember, Omiyale is still learning the position so he's going to make some mistakes, but his combination of size and athleticism will no doubt benefit this entire offense.

    On defense, I thought this entire unit benefited from having Tommie Harris on the line. Yes I know his name didn't show up on the stat-sheet, but if you look closely you'll see he did his job. If you looks back, Tommie was being double teamed about half the time and was still able to hold his ground for the most part. He was able to force the action outside his gap and allow the LB's and S's to make the plays. The only problem? Brandon Jacobs ran over our linebackers ('Lach and Pisa) and safeties (Payne and Volcano) about half the time as well. On passing downs, Tommie absorbed the double teams allowing Alex Brown and 'Wale Ogunleye to take advantage of their 1-on-1 matchups on the outside. While Tommie didn't break through to get the QB himself, I thought this unit benefited from having Harris in the game. That being said, Brown and Ogunleye had outstanding games and should be fun to watch this year.

  • Thats why I like Johnny Knox, he's been a WR all along and seems to get good separation on his routes.I'd love to see him work with the first string. I think he may have better instincts than Hester.

  • did you guys see Alex Brown pursuing passes down the field like a maniac. a receiver would catch a 10yd pass and Alex Brown would be either killing him from the back or within 3 yds of doing so before someone else made the tackle. That is awesome and that is how you istill concern in opposing players and coaches.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    Yeah, Alex was everywhere. The hit on Steve Smith was a thing of beauty.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    Murph,

    1st run of the game, he takes on 2 blockers and allows AA to make the tackle.

    2nd run of the game, again, take on 2 blockers and allows #54 and #44 free shots on Jacobs. They don't wrap up and #46 gets his welcome the the NFL rookie moment.

    3rd run of the game, again, gets past his man on a stunt with AA and penetrates the backfield allowing #54 and #55 to make the play.

    On the 4th run play, Tommie gets pinched out to the his right as the ball is pitched to his left. Not a great play for Tommie, but he forces the play to the outside and Pisa looked incredible coming from the far side to make the hit on Jacobs.

    To me, it was a solid 1st series from the Tommie and the rest of the D, outside of a few missed tackles from our LBs and Ss. They were able to get pressure on Manning and get off the field on 3rd downs. While TH may not show up on the stat sheet, I believe his precesne alone allows the players around him more opportunities.

    I'm not saying you have to love the guy, in fact he's a bit of a head case, but there is no denying he is the best d-tackle on the team when healthy (with the possible exception of Anthony Adams).

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    On a side note, Alex Brown and 'Wale Ogunleye are going to be monsters this year. If you can add a fresh Izzy Idonnije and Harrison, you should see some decent pass rushing this year.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    Problem with trading Tommie is the cap hit we take the contract the other team's takes on. Tommie Harris is a combination of injury prone and one of the highest paid players in the sport.

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    Exactly, Jeff. No team in their right mind would trade for Tommie Harris and *any* scenario involving him and a trade is a pure fantasy.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    I agree totally. I watched the first team D twice, and Alex Brown was the most impressive. He was a beast and was all over the field. Hopefully they use that in film sessions - pursue and never give up on a play. I think he will take it to another level this year.

  • Don't forget INTs, I bet he picks off a least one screen pass this year.

  • In reply to Shady:

    Batted down passes and blocked kicks. You see a lot of that from Izzy too, it would be great if we could get Alex Brown outta him on defense.

  • In reply to Shady:

    Let's put it like this BaM, he is in the coffin but i just haven't put the nails in yet. He'd have to sit out most of the year just to get his knee in a condition where he can play consistently and not sit out.

  • Boooooooo! We NEED Tommie, why would we trade him???

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