Matt Forte: Star of the show? Move aside Cutler-Rodgers.
What to expect, not to expect, and the unexpected:
1. Interested to see how the rook does against Julius. Talked about this earlier in the week. I would absolutely love to see Julius be a game-changer or Mark Anderson get to Rodgers because of his presence. Can we see the rookie version of Mark? How thrilling would that be? Expect a heavy dosage of Julius/Mark in the Green Bay backfield. Don’t Expect Rodgers to get rattled. Unexpected would be Mark Anderson sacking Rodgers.
2. Watch out for the draws/delays. GB will sneak in some runs. Don’t be too overaggressive. Don’t overly be outrageous in pursuit. Be smart. Stay focused. I don’t want to get burned on a 3rd and medium on a run play because we’re trying to kill Aaron. Stay home, defend the run still. Don’t be too reckless because you know the QB can scramble (leads QB’s with 10 rushing TD’s since ’08). He can kill momentum, prolong a drive, and suck the air out of the defense with a big run while the coverage is downfield. Don’t forget about him. Expect Packers “running backs” (not Rodgers) to generate next to nothing, yet expect Rodgers to be a factor someway or another. Don’t Expect them to completely abandon run, don’t expect Rodgers not to get his. Unexpected would be any run play for more than 10 yards by a “RB”.
3. Speaking of being overaggressive, that’s one thing the Bears haven’t been. You’ve seen ’em past years open up the season by revving up the blitz calls to full-blast in hopes of penetration. This season, exact opposite. Holding off the dogs. We’re getting enough penetration as it is by not blitzing. I mean, if you don’t have to then don’t, and its working as you can see, as they rarely utilize the blitz. So the blueprint has been two-fold: combination of front four pressure and dropping back the LB’s in coverage, this allows you to provide the shaky secondary secondary with more than enough help. The pass rush, they don’t have to cover for too long. The ‘backers, they get extra support. They are giving up yards, however, not many points. That’s all that matters. This is how you play Cover-2. This is how you make up for a bad secondary. This is a winning formula, especially considering the way Jay/offense is clicking on all cylinders. Lastly, he’s the linebacker who gets the least notoriety, Pisa. I have a hunch/feeling he will be talked about a lot emphatically by Jon Gruden: “This guy, he’s all over the field making plays”, “He should be more of a household name, if anything, by the end of the night he will become more known because of his play in this game -he’s that impressive”. “This guy’s fast, he’s an absolute terror!” “Now here’s a guy that could have played for me, I would have wanted him on my team, I wish he would’ve played for me.” Expect: Aaron Rodgers to figure out this defense, especially on 3rd downs. Don’t Expect: Bears Charles Tillman to shutdown anybody, but also don’t expect the Packers receivers not to be worried about his “Peanut Balboa” personna. Unexpected would be to see Tommie Harris make much, if any difference at all. Israel is more disruptive, play him more, even Melton.
4. I would love to see the Bears spread out the RB’s/TE’s wide to attract a Clay Matthews, A.J. Hawk, or Nick Barnett. Make them cover. Get them out in space, see how they defend in the open field with our athletes.
Decoys? Why not? Exotic packages, flashy formations, show ’em different looks, that kind of thing. Make up ’em show their hand first, then realign. Have ’em cover the whole field. Show pass set-up with wide spread, then run. Watch CREATIVITY burst out, Martz’s playbook is going to be fully revealed, unleashed, oozing out for this rivalry. You know the mastermind of offensive uniqueness is loaded. The guru will be pulling out all the stops. No holding back. The offense will be at its finest. This game is big. Its Green Bay. Its for 3-0! Soldier Field is going to be one raucous atmosphere! Expect Matt Forte to be the Bears leading pass catcher, make one game-altering catch. Don’t Expect Chester Taylor not to join in on the fun, as he will make at least two third down conversions with his hands, and also don’t expect Greg Olsen to do much damage. Unexpected would be to see Clay Matthews completely neutralized in coverage, he will be unfazed.
5. What if we do the exact opposite? Any chance #4 is Plan B? Whereas, Plan A is surprise them with the run, go old-fashioned Bears power football, and just run it down their throats? We have two more than capable backs. Together they can wear down the 3-4. Control ball, clock, game? Keep defense fresh? What are the chances? I’d love to be shocked. Let Forte and Taylor go to work, they have the wiggles, jiggles, jukes and jives to make this happen. If we show that we can win a game black ‘n blue style, that will separate us from the rest of the “pack”. It would drive defenses crazy, how would they be able to key on the run with our flamboyant aerial display? Balance. Time to pull out the bag of tricks, and run. You know there will be game that we’ll have to win playing like because the pass game isn’t all clicking. So, Plan B becomes Plan A, Plan A switches to Plan B? Opens up the possibilities, makes the offense more difficult to defend, enabling the play-action to be executed to perfection. If we can successfully start the game by going Plan B, it’ll set the tone of the entire game. It would catch G.B. off-guard and force ’em to bring up the safeties. Stick to our guns, strengths, and Jay? Or mix in a balance, and run more than usual? Run more than pass? I can go for the ladder, let’s show ’em who’s tougher, and control the game. Let’s not make this a Cutler-Rodgers shootout if we don’t have to -I rather not. I believe they will have a tougher time winning the game say Rodgers doesn’t play all that well as opposed to if that scenario is true for Jay. In essence, let’s make this a battle in the trenches, and run, run, run. Expect Matt Forte/Chester Taylor to touch the rock more than any other Bears playmaker; translation: Expect the unexpected, running the football early & often. Don’t Expect the unexpected, Forte for more than 30 rushes. Unexpected would be to not dismiss the unexpected, I see Forte making one or two big-time runs that will allow us to consistently stick with the run -more than 5 yards per carry, now that’s stretching it, right? Maybe not. The spotlight shines on the QB’s, they are the captivating stars, yet despite its luring of us in, at the end of the night, you will see a RB getting the pub. Expect the unexpected!
Bonus: Expect both Devin Aromashodu and Earl Bennett to be open most of the time, they will make their presence felt. Defensively, Chris Harris will get burned more than once, Danieal Manning will make a big play, along with a costly error. Don’t Expect Martz to dial up the pass too much because of an opportunistic Packers defense. Unexpected would be to see Hester or Knox go over 100 yards, we spread the ball around too much, and GB won’t give up any huge pass plays with Woodson and Collins lurking in centerfield.
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