Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Another 3-4 test awaits Bears
By Jeff Dickerson
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- After withstanding an early barrage of pressure, the Chicago Bears were able to regroup and methodically dissect the Dallas Cowboys' 3-4 defense en route to a Week 2 victory.
Can the same be done against a Green Bay Packers' 3-4 front that finished 2009 ranked No. 2 in total defense?
As Clay Matthews goes, so too goes the Packers' defense.
"They're a good defense," Bears running back Matt Forte said Wednesday. "They're really stout up front, and what I see on film, they run to the ball every play and really swarm the ball carrier. They have a variety of different blitzes, and it's kind of tricky in the 3-4 because you have to worry about the outside guys who are stand-up linebackers/defensive ends. It's kind of tough that way, but they have a really fast, quick defense.
"They try to get you running sideways, so we got to get up the field and try to get the running game going."
The Packers have recorded 10 sacks in their first two victories, due mostly to the record-setting pace of second-year linebacker Clay Matthew, who already has notched an NFL-high six sacks. Since 2009, Matthews is third in the NFL with 16 sacks, behind only Denver's Elvis Dumervil (17) and Indianapolis' Dwight Freeney (16.5).
"Clay Matthews is playing really well right now so we got to pay attention to him," Forte said.
However, the Bears' focus is not limited to only picking up the Green Bay pressure.
Turnovers killed Lovie Smith's crew last season in their two meetings with the Packers. Quarterback Jay Cutler threw a total of six interceptions, four in the opening-game loss at Lambeau Field. While the Green Bay secondary is slightly altered with the addition of rookie safety Morgan Burnett, certain staples remain, such as cornerback Charles Woodson and safety Nick Collins.
Collins is dealing with a hip flexor injury and may be limited in practice this week, according to Packers coach Mike McCarthy.
"In the secondary, Charles Woodson was the [NFL Defensive] Player of the Year last year so everybody knows about him," Bears tight end Greg Olsen said. "All three levels, they have guys who can play. It's going to a great challenge for us, and we're looking forward to it."