Reporting Jeff Joniak
Check out Jeff Joniak’s Keys To The Game as your Chicago Bears play the Washington Redskins at Soldier Field. Bears Radio pregame starts at 9 a.m. C.T. kickoff is at high Noon!
It’s simple. No matter the system, if defenders and blitzers can’t be blocked, the system will fail. And the Bears go into Week 7 eyeballing significant improvement in their protections. Expect the Washington Redskins and every team the Bears face to blitz corners, safeties, and linebackers at will, until the Bears find a way to stop it and make them pay. Skins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett blitzed 50% of the time in the first three games of the season. The entire unit bears the responsibility of identifying and fundamentally making the blocks necessary to get running game going and protecting in the pass game. Simplification and more balance in the play calling figures to be a hot topic this week.
Defense: Prepare for misdirection
Mike Shanahan’s offense is run by his 30-year old son Kyle. Donovan McNabb is running the bootleg and the run game is mostly zone stretch plays with back side cutting. It’s difficult for any linebacker to cover Washington tight end Chris Cooley(concussion), but a returning Lance Briggs and safety Danieal Manning are athletic enough in coverage to deal with the two-time Pro Bowler and his back-up the faster Fred Davis.
Special Teams: Dominate
Six weeks into the season, the Bears return game remains their best weapon. Devin Hester has two punt return touchdowns and Danieal Manning had a kickoff return wiped out by penalty. They are among the league leaders in average. Veteran Redskins special teams’ coordinator Danny Smith is highly regarded and will have his players ready for what is considered a big challenge. The Redskins are also a top ten unit on special teams and their punt returner Brandon Banks a rookie has more punt return yards than the entire redskins output last season
Intangibles: Come to play
They did not come to play against Seattle, they have to against Washington. A passiveness set in on the Bears for some reason last week and it cost them. They have to come out of the locker room and demand excellence from each other and turn that into a concerted effort to beat the Redskins. They have to match and surpass the intensity the Skins will bring with Donovan McNabb’s return to Chicago and Mike Shanahan’s return to his home—-win some early battles to re-instill the confidence that could be missing especially on offense where the continuity is out of whack due to the constant changes up front.