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The Bears are a good test for the Texans at Reliant Stadium Sunday.
I wrote earlier this year about how Steve Slaton was a rookie back capable of protecting his quarterback, either by picking up a blitzer or providing a quick outlet for a pass.
The blitzing Bears -- who still have a shot at the playoffs -- will give Slaton, fullback Vonta Leach and the Texans offensive line a lot to sort out.
"They will come get you," coach Gary Kubiak said today. "They pressure quite a bit. They create a lot of tough situations for your running backs as far as picking up blitzes. On any given day a team can change, but they are a pressure-oriented defensive football team."
Quarterback Matt Schaub's ability to handle pressure and his tendency to hold the ball too long are issues he needs to sort out in order to make the next step. Solving those issues will also help him stay healthy.
"He's a smart player," Kubiak said. "He knows where to go with the ball when people come after him, how to get it gone when his protections break down or what's going on protection-wise. That's a credit to him. But also it's a credit to the guys up front and to the backs. But we'll be tested as much as we've been tested from that standpoint this weekend because this team will not stop coming at any point. I mean, they're going to, when they leave the locker room they'll be pressuring us and they'll probably be pressuring us when we walk back in too."
A reminder of what Chicago needs to unfold Sunday to advance to the postseason:
Can clinch the division with:
1) A win and a Minnesota loss or tie.
2) A tie and a Minnesota loss.
Can clinch a playoff spot with:
1) A win and losses or ties by Dallas and Tampa Bay.
2) A tie and losses by Dallas and Tampa Bay.