BE: Mills, Long make Kiper's list

September, 27, 2013
9/27/13
8:26
AM ET
Hopefully, everyone is pumped up about Sunday's matchup between the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Here are a few Bears Essentials to get you going:

• ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released another list of his top rookies after three weeks on Thursday, and Chicago Bears offensive linemen Jordan Mills and Kyle long made the top 20.

Mills checked in at No. 10, while Long was 18th.

Breaking down Mills, Kiper wrote: “If you asked who has been better in total performance, you might pick the rookie to Mills' left on the right side of the Bears offensive line. And guard Kyle Long has been good. But let's put Mills' performance in context. Not only is he a rookie protecting Jay Cutler, he's also played his first three games against Cincinnati, Minnesota and Pittsburgh. All of those teams have an idea of how to create pressure off the edge. He's also got a rookie as his inside help. And so far he has given up exactly zero sacks from the tackle position, and he also hasn't taken a single penalty. He belongs here.”

Mills played his best game in the season opener against Cincinnati, surrendering no sacks, quarterback hits or pressures. In 194 snaps on offense, Mills has allowed two hits and nine hurries.

Long, meanwhile, has surrendered only one hit and seven hurries in 194 snaps.

“Maybe he deserves to be higher,” Kiper wrote. “But I gave Mills a little more credit based on position.”

That’s fair, considering Mills takes on more bona fide pass-rushers than Long over the course of a game.

Certainly, Jay Cutler and head coach Marc Trestman aren’t complaining about the performances of either player.

Here's the entire list.

• ESPNChicago.com’s Jeff Dickerson and Jon Greenberg debate four topics in the weekly Four Downs feature.

Dickerson writes that he doesn’t think the Bears will be able to neutralize Suh.

“I'll never understand why Suh behaves the way he does,” Dickerson wrote. “He is one of the most athletically gifted defensive tackles in the game. He doesn't need to take cheap shots. So why go down that road? All the negativity surrounding Suh makes people forget how good he really is. He had 8.0 sacks last season. The Bears offensive line has done a terrific job protecting Jay Cutler, but Suh is expected to be a tough assignment on Sunday. When the Lions are good, which isn't often, the indoor atmosphere at Ford Field is a tough venue for road teams. Expect the crowd to make it difficult for the Bears to hear Cutler at the line of scrimmage. That little extra edge for Suh could make a big difference in the game. Suh enters Sunday with zero sacks on the season. My best guess is he probably doesn't finish the game with zero sacks.”

This certainly will be a major test for Chicago's offensive line. Based on what I've seen so far, I think the Bears can get the job done. But I see Dickerson's point, too. The statistics don't show it, but Suh is playing great football right now.

The key for Chicago will be to get Detroit's crowd out of this thing early. If the Bears can do that, I think Cutler stays clean all night and lights up the Lions.

• Bears guard Matt Slauson played with Suh in college at Nebraska. So he’s got a little insight into how Suh plays. Adam Jahns gets into it right here.

- John “Moon” Mullin takes a look at the pending matchup between Long and Suh.

- Former Bears great Gale Sayers sues the NFL.

 

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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