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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Bears will need a physical approach and a well-tuned strategy to defeat the New Orleans Saints this Sunday, says analyst Tom Thayer.
“They’re a good team at home; I would say they’re a lot like the Atlanta Falcons, whom the Bears just played, obviously, in that if you start playing them in an extreme physical game, you can take control of the dome and get that crowd in your favor, and you can go down there and win that game,” Thayer told WBBM Newsradio’s Josh Liss. “But it’s going to take a really physical approach for the Bears.”
LISTEN: Analyst Tom Thayer with WBBM Newsradio’s Josh Liss
The Saints’ defense is considered vulnerable, but Thayer emphasizes that doesn’t mean the Bears will necessarily have an easy time with it.
“It is vulnerable. However, you’ve got to be able to block the blitz organized upfront when you’re not going to hear the snap come from the quarterback, so you have to assume everybody can get off the line of scrimmage at the exact same time, hold up protection against the blitz that will try to outnumber you, and then be able to efficiently get the pass downfield,” he said. “It is vulnerable, but you’ve got to block it first.”
But what about the Saints’ offense? Quarterback Drew Brees has more yards and touchdown passes than any other quarterback over the last five years, and the Bears’ defense is going to have to find a way to neutralize him.
“You need to just put pressure on him…. You have to turn the quarterback into an athlete,” Thayer said. “If you don’t run him, just stand behind the offensive line and accurately throw the ball, it’s going to kill you, but if you put pressure on him and make him run to his right or to his left, or in that retreat position, then you’re going to give yourself an opportunity for some turnovers.”
Meanwhile, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher plans to play Sunday. He returned to Halas Hall Thursday in the wake of the sudden death of his mother on Monday.
The funeral for Urlacher’s mother, Lavoyda Leonard, is reportedly scheduled for Saturday, and Urlacher will take a private plane to New Orleans afterward for the game. What can we expect from Urlacher as he takes the field for the first time since his mother’s passing?
“He’s very fortunate to play a team sport where in times like this, you are a band of brothers, and those 60 guys in the locker room will show him how much they care about him, and the coaches and the organization,” Thayer said. “In terms of being such a negative scenario, they’re going to make it as positive for Brian as they can.”
The Bears take on the Saints at noon Sunday at the Superdome in New Orleans.