Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Bears' goal is to block Allen, not retaliate
By Michael C. Wright
The Bears neutralized Jared Allen on Nov. 25 but expect a tougher task in Minnesota.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Retaliation won't be a part of the game plan Sunday at Minnesota when the Chicago Bears face the Vikings and defensive end Jared Allen, who ended the season of right guard Lance Louis on a crushing hit deemed illegal by the NFL.
Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice wants to "mix it up" against Allen, schematically, but anything else beyond what takes place over the course of a normal play is "not how you play the game," he stressed.
"I don't see that happening," Tice said when asked his stance on retaliation. "I don't teach that stuff; never have. You've never seen any stories about my guys chop blocking or anything like that. We don't teach that."
When the teams last met on Nov. 25 at Soldier Field, Allen delivered a devastating block on Louis on an interception that resulted in the guard tearing his ACL and subsequently placed on the injured reserve. Midstride while chasing Antoine Winfield, who had just picked off a Jay Cutler pass, Louis planted his left foot into the turf at the very moment Allen launched off both feet to smash into the offensive lineman.
Allen received a $21,000 fine from the NFL for the hit, but was contrite Wednesday when asked about the incident.
"I saw a guy running and I just made a block, and that happened," Allen said. "My apologies for the knee. That's never, ever the intent. I was asking (J'Marcus) Webb and I asked coach (Mike) Tice after the game if he was O.K. They said, ‘No,' and I said, ‘Dang, that sucks.' That's never the intent, but you can't take it back."
With the teams gearing up for another matchup, what's important, Tice said, is finding a way to repeat the performance they produced against Allen in the first meeting. The Bears utilized a variety of tactics to neutralize Allen's effectiveness as a pass rusher.
The strategy paid off as Allen finished the game with four tackles, no sacks, and one hit on Cutler. But Tice recognizes Allen and the rest of the Vikings defense plays a step faster on the field turf of the Metrodome. The group is also aided by deafening crowd noise that often affects the ability of the offensive linemen to hear snap counts and other line calls.
"So it's very important to make sure we account for Jared Allen every time we throw the ball, and we will," Tice said. "(They're a) different defense at home on that field turf with that crowd noise, and we just have to make sure we're smart about the calls and how we're helping J'Marcus out."
Cutler said the Bears plan to utilize some of the same tactics they used on Nov. 25 against Allen. The Bears mixed up blocking schemes on several occasions, in addition to chipping with running backs and keeping in tight ends some on passing plays.
This week "we're going to do similar stuff" according to the quarterback.
"We threw different things at him, different blocking schemes at him," Cutler said. "We threw a fullback at him, threw a tight end at him, got rid of the ball quickly and efficiently. We've just got to do those things (again this week) and do more of it."