Let's be clear, my blood pressure only allowed me to watch the first half of Monday's loss to NY. As much as I would like to croon "it's all going to be ok" like some insufferable pop song, the Giants were able to expose enough weakness in the Bears' game to serve as inspiration for a sad blues record. However, it's good to know that whatever Mike Tice is doing seems to be working -- if the OL can keep up the obvious progress they made from last week (no sacks in 1st quarter, 1 allowed in 2nd), the OL isn't going to be the issue that all the "experts" have made it out to be. That's of little consolation, however, when stacked up against the woes of the secondary and the sloppy -- if not incompetant -- performance by the Special Teams unit.
Firstly, some positives. Julius Peppers played like a man possessed during the first quarter, SCARING Eli Manning into making some impulsive decisions. The success of the Bears starts with being able to generate an intimidating pass rush, and it looks like we're going to be fine in that department.
In a welcome sight, Cutler looked far more comfortable running Martz's offense and seems more inclined to throw the ball away than take the sack. This has always been a weakness for Jay, but he seemed poised and in command, even when the pocket broke down.
Now for the concerns:
1.) Jennings has no business playing in man-to-man coverage schemes. The guy's 5-8! Although he made a nice play against Hakeem Nicks in the 2nd Quarter, I have major reservations of his ability to cover bigger, stronger receivers, especially in the end zone. This needs to be addressed.
2.) The Special Teams unit didn't seem special at all, allowing major returns because of broken formations and missed tackles. What was once a perennial powerhouse looked more like a scummy dormroom - Dave Toub better fix this and quick. Knox seemed desperate to keep his job, running seemingly confused and anxiety-ridden returns. Perhaps this had more to do with the protection he had, but I couldn't help but cringe none the less.
3.) Anytime I see the Bears missing tackles, especially in run defense, I worry. Of course, sitting starters at the beginning of the 2nd qtr contributed to this breakdown, but the young guys HAVE TO STEP UP. Brandon Jacobs should not be dekeing anyone out of their shoes as he did to Major Wright late in the 2nd.
In a way, I'm glad this game happened in the fashion it did. Tackling needs to tighten and somebody needs to smack Roy Williams. I hope that person is Cutler - perhaps the one player I was most impressed with.