By Connor McKnight–
As Jay Cutler spoke to the media Wednesday leading up to the Bears‘ Sunday match-up with the Vikings, it became apparent that the plan and approach to the Bills has been ripped up, burnt and flushed away.
While the Bears emerged successful mixing pass and run attempts in more equal portions against the Bills, the run plays themselves were largely unsuccessful. Because of that–and a much better Vikings defense–don’t expect the Bears to try it again.
“You’re not going to be able to use that same game-plan against Minnesota,” Cutler said. “It’s a different team, [a] different defense. We have to attack it a different way. That’s the difficulty of the NFL; each week is different. Each week presents it’s own problems.”
The “problems” Cutler alluded to are some he’d like to elude altogether–the Vikings defensive line. While Jared Allen has had a relatively quiet year, this Bears offensive line might be just what he needs.
“They’re still very good. Still very good,” Cutler said when asked about Minnesota’s front four. “Guys are chipping them a little bit more, double teaming some of those guys on the outside. They want to get pressure with those front four, add a linebacker here and there and just react to the ball in front of them.”
It’ll be a big week for [the Bears offensive line],” Cutler went on. “We’re gonna try and help them as much as possible–on the edge with the backs and tight ends. But there’s gonna be situations where they’re going to have to block those guys one-on-one and we’re going to have to take some shots downfield. It’ll be a big test for them.”
That’s for sure.
But what of Cutler’s ability to get outside the pocket and move the chains with his legs? It seemed effective–if somewhat panicked–against the Bills.
“It’s not something that you want to make a living doing,” Cutler said. “When it presents itself, picking up first downs … those are the times you want to get your yards and get down.”
So don’t expect Mike Martz to turn Cutler in to Michael Vick.
Jay did spend a minute or two assessing the Vikings’ defensive strategy. The Vikings are a cover-two, zone-oriented team, similar to the Bears defense. Lately, the Vikes have had to send a few more blitzes than they’d like but Cutler didn’t seem worried as the blitzes were called when the Vikings were behind and needed to try anything to regain the ball.
Of course, if Jared Allen and the Williams twins are able to wreak Giant-like havoc on the Bears offensive line, they won’t need to blitz at all.
And despite all the drama and controversy in Minnesota, it’s a team that may be spurred on by it’s thin chance at survival. “[It’s a] huge game for us, huge game for them,” Cutler said. I think this is going to be a very intense game because, obviously, they’ve gotta win. We want to keep winning in the NFC North.”
Bottom line is that it’s another NFC North game. One where the Bears need a win to get a leg up on the Packers while a “W” for the Vikings would get right back into the hunt.