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ESPN INSIDER: Bolts vs Bears WEEK 1

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Buttmunch, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. Buttmunch

    Buttmunch Well-Known Member

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    Why To Watch
    This game features two of the top defenses in the league and is a potential Super Bowl preview. After an inconsistent preseason, Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman will look to prove he has matured. The Bears also have some concerns at defensive tackle, which could be an issue against an excellent San Diego offensive line and the best running back in the NFL, LaDainian Tomlinson. Chargers QB Philip Rivers must continue to elevate his game this season and will get a chance to take the first step against Chicago's tough pass defense. After going 14-2 last season, San Diego head coach Marty Schottenheimer was fired. Can Norv Turner fill his shoes?


    When the Bears have the ball

    Rushing: The scheme will be the same, but the Bears' running game will have a different look this season with former first-round pick Cedric Benson taking over for the departed Thomas Jones. Jones' absence creates a bit of a leadership void on offense and it will be up to Benson to earn the respect of his teammates.
    Benson should give the Bears a little more explosiveness, but he will need to learn to protect the football and be more consistent in his effort. The offensive line is underrated. The unit excels at coming off the ball quickly and can maul the opposition. However, it does not have great mobility so look for the aggressive San Diego front seven to do some slanting and stunting upfront.

    One of the best matchups in this game will be Chicago center Olin Kreutz versus San Diego nose tackle Jamal Williams. Kreutz must be able to control the 6-foot-3, 348-pound Williams as the Bears would like to run the ball between the tackles to test San Diego's interior run defense. The Chargers feature two new starting inside linebackers in Stephen Cooper and Matt Wilhelm and the Bears will need to get guards Ruben Brown and Roberto Garza to the second level to test the Chargers' new ILBs.

    Passing: One of the big questions for Chicago fans is how will Grossman perform this season, and facing this defense in Week 1 will be a great test for him. Even though teams did not consistently throw the ball on the Chargers last season, the secondary is clearly the weak link of their defense. The No.1 priority for the Bears will be pass protection.

    Chicago left tackle John Tait and right tackle Fred Miller need to be solid on the edges to protect against outstanding outside linebackers Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips, who combined for nearly 30 sacks last season. The loss of rookie TE Greg Olsen (MCL) will hurt the offense in this game. :yes:

    The Bears were hoping to employ more two-TE sets with Olsen and Desmond Clark, using Olsen in the passing game and Clark to help in pass protection. Clark will now have to be used in the passing game to help attack the middle of the San Diego defense down the seam, where it is most vulnerable. The Bears will also look to get dynamic return specialist Devin Hester more involved offensively this season and he should see about 20-25 plays on offense in this game.

    Look for the coaches to use Hester on quick-hitting routes early to get the ball in his hands. Doing that early will also negate the San Diego pass rush and make the defense play more on its heels. The Bears have a chance to make plays down the field in this game with Hester and Bernard Berrian, but they must be able to protect the quarterback.

    When the Chargers have the ball
    Rushing: San Diego has the best run offense in the NFL, led by the best player in the NFL in Tomlinson. The Chargers have one of the top-three offensive lines in the NFL and return all five starters from last season, while the Bears are a little weaker up the middle this season.

    Defensive tackle Tommie Harris is returning from a serious hamstring injury, the team opted not to re-sign Ian Scott and Tank Johnson was cut. This will put a great deal of pressure on Harris and new starter Dusty Dvoracek. The two must be stout upfront to protect MLB Brian Urlacher and WLB Lance Briggs, who are the heart and soul of this defense.

    And though he is in his first season as San Diego's head coach, Turner designed this offense when he was a coordinator earlier in his career. Nothing will change in the running game, so expect a ton of power running early from the Chargers. Turner will pull the guard up into the hole and also bring FB Lorenzo Neal to test the interior of this Chicago defense. If Chicago can't stop the run early, it will have to commit safety Adam Archuleta to the box, allowing the Chargers to open up the passing game. If the Bears can't stop the run early it will be a very long day for their defense.

    Passing: The Chargers will always be able to run, but the passing game will be the key to how far they go this season. The Bears do an excellent job with their Cover 2 defense but will continue to mix in more man coverage because they have three very good corners in Nathan Vasher, Charles Tillman and Ricky Manning Jr.

    Offensively, San Diego has been searching for a wide receiver on the outside who can take pressure off TE Antonio Gates and might have found that player in Vincent Jackson. Jackson is a big receiver with speed who has also developed as a route-runner.

    Gates will draw a very good matchup this week against Urlacher, who will flank him down the middle of the field when the Bears are in Cover 2. For that reason, look for San Diego to move Gates around even more this week in an attempt to get the Bears' defense to adjust and move before the snap.

    Rivers did not play well late last season so it is important for him to get off to a good start in 2007. He should have plenty of time to throw, so the key for him will be showing patience and not forcing the ball. The weak spot of the Cover 2 defense is the middle of the field, so look for the Chargers to try to establish Gates early and often in an attempt to eventually open up the outside of the field.

    Special Teams

    The Bears have the best return game in the NFL and one of the most explosive players in the league at any position in Hester. As the 2006 season progressed teams tried to kick away from Hester, but don't look for San Diego to do that. The Chargers take great pride in their special teams units and have one of the best coverage players in the NFL, Kassim Osgood.

    In fact, both teams have excellent coverage units. Both teams also feature solid kickers with Chicago's Robbie Gould and San Diego's Nate Kaeding. The Chargers have a solid edge in the punting department with Mike Scifres. Both teams are excellent in almost every phase, so field position will be key in this game
     
  2. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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  3. Buttmunch

    Buttmunch Well-Known Member

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    I was posting an article, not something written by a ballwatcher. :lol:
     
  4. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Ohhh, that was below the belt man...:icon_sad:
     

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