Reporting Jeff Joniak
Welcome Bears Radio fans! Check out Jeff Joniak’s Keys To The Game as your Chicago Bears play the Carolina Panthers. Comments welcomed below! Tell us where you are listening from. Click listen live to Bear Down!
Offense: Pull it together
After an anemic effort against the Giants, the Bears offense needs to pull it together and get back on track. Protection in the passing game is a unit wide effort, quarterback included. Getting the timing back in the passing game against the Panthers is essential. The Bears will be counting on the veteran moxie of Todd Collins. In terms of running the ball, the Bears have not done a good job after four games. They have only 11 rushing first downs, on pace to set a franchise record low. That being said, this is no longer will be a team that gets off the bus running the ball. Penalties have taken away excellent down and distance plays. First down false starts, or third and short holding penalties must stop, especially on the road against a team hungry for its first win.
Defense: Takeaway Points
Since 2004, the Bears lead the NFL in takeaways under Lovie Smith. It is preached to the defense constantly. The Bears are second in the league this season in takeaways, but they are still leaving more on the field. Coaches also want some defensive touchdowns. Facing Notre Dame rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen and a Panthers offense without star receiver Steve Smith, the Bears will be looking to force multiple turnovers and turning those turnovers into points. The Panthers will play three rookie receivers.
Special Teams: Take advantage of every opportunity
This will be a good matchup of special teams units. When an opportunity pops up, take it. Both teams are top ten in special teams rankings. The Bears are 8th and have enjoyed outstanding field position due in part to Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, and Danieal Manning in the return game. The Panthers are 10th in the league on the strength of their kickoff coverage(2nd-NFL), and their punt units.
Intangibles: Bounce back strong
Lovie Smith’s main thrust this week is one bad game doesn’t spoil the stew. Yes, the Bears did not look especially offensively against the Giants, but the loss only counts as one loss. The Bears are still 3-and-1. Avoiding back-to-back losses in the NFL is huge in the long-run. That’s why the Bears have to bounce back strong against the Panthers.