Interview With The Enemy: Chicago Bears

I had a few minutes to exchange with Fansided’s Chicago Bears expert Mike Burzawa from Bear Goggles On, here is what he had to tell me about this weeks matchup between the Bears and Giants on Sunday night.

Jay Cutler has really seemed to settle down, what do you attribute his early 2010 success to?

You have to say the Mike Martz has had a huge influence of Cutler.  There were a lot of questions about the Jay-Mart relationship heading into the season, but so far so good.

What is the single biggest threat the Bears pose to the Giants?

Cutler has been moving the ball well through the air.  Devin Hester and Johnny Knox are coming into their own at the wide receiver position, Greg Olsen is getting involved in the offense and even Matt Forte has contributed as a receiver out of the backfield.

Julius Peppers, how has he looked to you at DE this season?  He was kept in check by the Packers last week, can we expect a similar outing this week or a more dominating performance from him this against the Giants?

The only way the Packers were able to keep Peppers in check was to hold him all night.  If that’s what you call keeping in check, we’ll take the penalty yardage, thank you very much.  While the Bears haven’t been getting the sack totals they’d like, they are getting pressure, which has been leading to takeaways.

Your running game – it seems like RB Matt Forte is a bigger threat catching out of the backfield than he is at running between the tackles, is there something to that and why might that be?

The offensive line has struggled for the Bears, particularly in the running game.  Besides that, Mike Martz isn’t exactly a “get off the bus running” kind of coordinator.  Martz’s idea of a running play is a screen pass.

Note to self, we should tell Kevin Gilbride to run these so called “screen passes”  more with Ahmad Bradshaw since he’s so quick to get up-field after he gets the ball in his hands.  Perhaps this is one way to help the offensive line issues and TE blocking problems as well…. just a thought.

The Bears’ Run Defense, outstanding so far.  Is it simply because they’ve played pass-first teams until now? Or is there something the Giants should look out for from Chicago’s defense when they’re trying to pound the rock?

I think the Bears run defense is legit.  Linebackers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher are playing like men possessed, so watch for #54 and #55 flying all over the place.

Definitely the best linebacking one-two punch I can think of in the NFC right now, but we’ll see if the Giants can overcome their setbacks in run blocking, maybe use Jacobs more between the tackles this game to soften up Urlacher and Briggs and get it to Bradshaw outside the way they should be using these two RBs.  You can’t go to the well too many times, I know — but I’d like to see atleast one batch of water brought back to camp the one time so we know the well hasn’t gone dry for the Giants.
What can the Giants defense do to stop Devin Hester before he gets going?  Have you seen what you wanted from him as a receivers since he made that transition a priority?

Devin Hester is coming into his own as a receiver, but he’s not exactly Andre Johnson just yet.  Don’t get hung up on Hester (besides maybe as a punt returner), because there are plenty of threats in the passing game.  Look for Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett to contribute as well as Greg Olsen from the tight end position.

Knox is speedy, no doubt about it.   I’m wondering if Thomas and Webster can hang with him without help over the top from KP.  Although, the way KP put the hit on last week against the Titans, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants pass defense played like a legit #4 unit this week.

Mike Martz, happy to have him?  What have you seen that’s different in the Bears offensive scheme this year than years past?

So far so good with the Mad Scientist Mike Martz.  He has turned the Bears offense 180 degrees.  He will call any play at any time. Expect the unexpected from Martz and his offensive game plan.

What is the X-Factor for the Bears this Sunday?

Special teams.  Everyone in Chicago is hoping that Devin Hester got his groove back after popping a punt return for a touchdown after a 2-year hiatus.

Bill Belichick always said that you have to win 2 of the 3 phases in football to win games consistently.  I’m virtually GUARANTEEING that the Bears win this phase outright, even if the Giants are planning to use their playmaking starters on special teams this week.  And expect Clint Sintim, JPP, and Chase Blackburn to turn up the intensity, but not the execution that the Giants desperately need from their coverage teams.
What do you see as the X-Factor for the Giants?

Eli Manning.  If Eli hangs onto the ball, the Giants can do well.  If the Bears can force him to make mistakes, I like their chances.

Score Prediction:

This is an unexpected start to the season for the 3-0 Bears.  I think they force a few turnovers and pull one out.  Bears 26, Giants 23.

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