Bears vs Titans: Chicago Can Work out the Kinks Against a Struggling Titans Team
Tennessee has had an up-and-down season—and really, that's an understatement. It's the sort of team you figure should be a cakewalk, but ultimately, the Titans have played some teams very tough.
However, the Bears have a dominant defense, and that should be enough.
As it's very simple to shut down the Titans (hit Chris Johnson to make him lose interest, harass Hasselbeck, run Forte), this week, we will look at two areas the Bears should focus on improving against a foe they should beat handily.
Fire up the offense
The Bears need to get the offense going, and going early. They've gone into a lull early in games since the bye week, waking up late to get the job done.
They'll want to change that soon with Houston and San Francisco coming up. Houston can jump out to a lead early and San Francisco's defense doesn't tend to fade late. If the Bears are trailing against Houston, they may have a tough hill to climb to come back. If they are trailing the Niners, the hill won't be big, but it will be steep.
So this week is a perfect time to work on getting the offense off the starting blocks quickly.
The Titans rank 30th in the league in overall defense—29th vs the pass and 28th vs the run. The Bears should be able to have it any way they want it.
Anything to continue the momentum they had at the end of the game against Carolina.
It's a matter of continuing to get Jay Cutler into a rhythm early and then riding him the rest of the way. This is a defense you want to work the kinks out against. They won't generate many turnovers or sacks, and they aren't going to stop your two biggest weapons—Forte and Marshall—quickly or easily.
Get it going early, and don't take your foot off the gas.
Offensive coordinator Mike Tice has to start out aggressive and stay aggressive.
Carimi, Webb need to play better
We were macro; now let's go micro. Gabe Carimi and J'Marcus Webb are still inconsistent at the tackle position.
They've both had good games, and they have both had ugly games.
They are both way too inconsistent.
That has to stop. They have to start protecting Cutler better. There's no quick and easy fix—the Bears weren't going to find a trade at the deadline to fix this, and they aren't picking up someone in free agency right now.
So Carimi and Webb need to ante up and kick in. They have to do a better job of anchoring each end of the line.
One of the reasons—and there are several—the Bears don't stretch the field much is that Cutler can't get the time for a receiver to get open deep.
It happens on occasion, but the line does not hold long enough 99 percent of the time to get him the seconds he needs to deliver that ball.
It's why there are so many short and intermediate slant routes.
Pass-rushers can penetrate anywhere along the line, but it's ugliest with an edge speed-rusher.
So this week, against a pass rush which has just 11 sacks on the year, we shouldn't see any dirt on Cutler's jersey. We especially shouldn't see any dirt on Cutler's jersey because Webb/Carimi missed a block.
Again, there are very tough defenses coming. The offensive line has to be ready.
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