Urlacher Injury Hurts, But Doesn't Kill Bears Chances.
The brand new franchise quarterback threw four interceptions; and the face of the defense left the game with what is now a season ending wrist injury.
Although the offense had an abysmal first half, it responded by reaching the red zone midway through the second quarter and multiple times in the second half.
However, each time the offense marched down the field, they failed to finish the job. Instead, the team had to settle for field goals from kicker Robbie Gould.
Many of the Bears offensive mistakes Sunday were things that all could have been expected.
Take Jay Cutler, a gunslinger quarterback throwing four picks.
Although it was a career-high number of interceptions, gunslingers throw interceptions, and that is just a fact in the NFL. Cutler did respond with some big throws, but inexperienced wide receivers and choppy timing contributed to other missed opportunities.
While these are all things can be worrisome for a Bears fan, they give me hope that throughout the season these problems can be corrected. All it takes is film study and practice.
Some of the Bears initial confusion could have been caused by the new look Packers defense.
With the addition of Dom Capers this off-season, the Packers switched to a 3-4 defense. Although the result could have been different in this game, facing the Packers 3-4 should help the Bears prepare for the next game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Other mental mistakes hurt the Bears, such as long snapper Patrick Mannelly's botched
fake punt call. Thinking the Packers had twelve men on the field, he directly snapped the ball to Garrett Wolfe and a challenge replay showed the Packers twelfth man had indeed left the field on time.
Another aspect of Sunday's game that disturbs me is the inability of the Bears defense to force turnovers. No matter how good a defense plays, it has to force turnovers unless it is locking its opponents down inside their 10 yard line every drive.
Despite not having any take-aways, I am confident that the Bears defense will succeed despite Urlacher's season ending injury.
Hunter Hillenmeyer is a capable fill in at middle linebacker. Also, he has started roughly fifty games at strong-side linebacker the last five years for the Bears, so its not like he is some clown coming in.
There were earlier rumors that Lance Briggs would be moved to middle linebacker, but the Bears have ruled out that option. Even though I still believe the Bears defense will succeed, health is now the key factor.
If players such as Pino Tinoisamoa, Zach Bowman, Charles Tillman, Tommie Harris and Trumaine McBride have injuries that keep them from being at anything less than ninety five percent; and Nathan Vasher's ineffectiveness continues; the Bears will suffer this season and probably miss the playoffs.
What happened on Sunday to the Bears can be fought through, and problems can be corrected. They just have to be worked on and worked at hard during practice.
If the Bears are to be a good contending team, they will respond to this adversity and overcome it. Even if that adversity happens to come during week one.
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