Holmes: What To Watch For – Bears vs Chiefs
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By Laurence W. Holmes-
(CBS) I used to love Speech/Debate class back in high school. Especially when you had to make an argument for something that you didn’t believe. It was challenging to be persuasive when you knew something was false. You’re probably wondering right now: This is supposed to be a Bears preview. Why is Laurence writing about this?’ Well, the reason is that I’ve been over this thing a few dozen times. I’m finding it very difficult to make a persuasive argument on why Bears fans should be worried about Kansas City. Strangely, that worries me. Here are some of the matchups I’ll be paying attention to:Chiefs “hurry-up” vs. Brian Urlacher: For some reason, the Chiefs trust Tyler Palko to run a no-huddle offense. Perhaps, they think he can get into a rhythm faster, but is a bad rhythm better just because it’s quicker? On the other side, the Bears implicitly trust Urlacher to make calls on the run. The experience on this defense, means that they should rarely be caught off guard. Palko can move a little bit, so the Bears need to be careful with containment and not letting Dwayne Bowe get behind the safeties because they’re checking the run.
Tyler Palko vs Kyle Orton: It vexes me that the Chiefs spent nearly $2M dollars on a waiver claim for Orton and haven’t anointed him starter for tomorrow. KC has lost 4 in a row and in that stretch they haven’t scored more than 10 points. If they believe at 4-7 they still have an outside chance to win the AFC West, then you need to play the better quarterback. Even with only 10 days of practice, Orton is light years ahead of Palko. Now it could be that Chiefs coach, Todd Haley is playing “Cloak & Dagger” and are trying to get the Bears to prep for Palko and then spring Orton on them. Here’ s the problem: the Bears don’t need to spend any tie prepping for Palko. If you noticed, when asked, Bears defenders, couldn’t even remember his name. The Chiefs haven’t scored a touchdown in 10 quarters and only 1 in their last 4 games.
Bears Protection vs Tamba Hali: The Chiefs defense was stout against the Steelers. They held them to 27% on 3rd down and held them to 13 points. Hali is the heartbeat of their defense. He has 7 sacks. To put that into perspective, Kansas City has 13 total sacks as a team. Lovie Smith cautioned not to look at the sack numbers and talked more about overall pressure, but it’s hard to ignore such a low number. Hali has a lot of moves and good speed off the edge. So it’ll be up to everyone to stop him: tackles, tight ends and runningbacks. If the Bears succeed, they should have a better day offensively.
Mike Martz vs Caleb Hanie: Hanie called the tape “vital” when I asked him about the use of video as a self-scouting tool. My guess is that the Bears learned more about Hanie in that film session than they have in the last 4 seasons. It should mean a cleaner looking offense and a more comfortable Hanie. The Bears need a win here, but they don’t need Hanie to win it for them. It should be noted that Hanie had 3 interceptions and a 43.6 passer rating in the 1st half. In the 2nd half, he had 0 interceptions and posted a 107.4 rating. So it shows that the Bears are capable of making adjustments.
The Bears need this win. The bottom of the NFC playoff race is getting crowded and you don’t want to have to make up ground. Also, the Seattle game doesn’t look like a gimme anymore and the Packers loom on Christmas night. They can’t afford to slip up here, but like I said earlier, I can’t quite see how they would…
Follow me on Twitter (@LaurenceWHolmes) for live updates from Soldier Field.