Hello from beautiful Philadelphia. In a few hours we'll be watching what should be an interesting matchup between a pair of talented teams. Can the Bears slow down Michael Vick and all his weapons? I guess we'll soon see. Fire away with your questions.
Does Johnny Knox finally have a monster game tonight?
I'm not sure I'd hold my breath waiting for that to happen, Brandon. The problem is Knox is sharing time with Roy Williams. It's very difficult to find a rhythm when you're in and out of the lineup, which is always gonna be the case with Knox and Williams. Another component is the fact the Bears are facing a couple of pretty good corners in Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel.
Hey Guys,There's 2 things the Bears can do that I believe can when them the game. The Bear's D needs to stop LeSean McCoy and the Bears O needs convert 3rd downs to keep McCoy, Vick and company off the field. Your take?
Jason, I agree with you on both counts. The third thing I'd add is to win the field-position battle. That will be key.
How much of a setback did Carmini actually have? Do you see him playing this year?
Brandon, there was never a real "setback". The team had no plans to start Carimi this week. Early in the week a team source told me that Carimi simply wasn't ready to play. Did he experience some soreness after going hard that one day of practice? Yes. But that's exactly what the team expected to happen.
Do you feel like it would have been a good idea to keep rookie Kicker/Punter Spencer Lanning now that the Bears are having some special teams problems?
Scott, not sure I follow where you're going here. The Bears have been pretty solid on special teams from my vantage point.
With Earl Bennett returning to action this week, how many targets do you think Sanzenbacher will lose now?
Well, Kevin if you lok at it, Sanzenbacher's targets have been going down since he caught six balls for 64 yards in the Oct. 10 loss at Detroit. Over the last two games, he's caught just three balls. So I definitely see those targets dropping with Earl Bennett back in the lineup. One of the receivers even told me last week that he expected Earl to receive the majority of the targets.
Bears fan here. Will we see Merriweather tonight in an attempt to deal with some of the elite speed Philly possesses on offense?
I seriously doubt it, Charles. The Bears are actually better equipped to deal with Philadelphia's speed with Chris Conte and Major Wright as the safeties. Conte has the athleticism of a corner, which should bode well in this game provided he doesn't make any glaring mistakes in coverage.
Hey Michael, do you think if Henry Melton has another unproductive game that the Bears would be better off going with Paea and Okoye to see if they might be the answer? Or should they give Melton the whole year?
Jon, I think the Bears might go to Amobi Okoye if they don't get more production out of Henry Melton. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said last week basically that Okoye is pushing Melton for the start. Right now they're sharing time. But Okoye has been more productive (three tackles and two sacks over the past two games, compared to two tackles and no sacks for Melton over the last four games).
Hey Michael. How do you see the Cover 2 fairing with the weapons that Philly has at WR? Do you think our secondary will be able to stop the big play capabilities of Jackson and Maclin?
If they don't make mistakes, I could see the Bears doing well against Philadelphia. Remember that Michael Vick is winless against the Bears, and there's a reason for that. The Bears prefer for Michael Vick to step up into the pocket and try to make throws. They'll force him to take short throws and checkdowns, and work the ball down the field, while staying over the top of the receivers on deep routes. The plan is to try Vick's patience. Most quarterbacks don't have the patience to take what the defense gives and work the ball down the field, which leads to quarterbacks taking chances and making mistakes. Chicago's formula is pretty tried and true against mobile quarterbacks like Vick. So I like the Bears' chances.
Can Lovie outcoach Big Green?
Look at Lovie's record against the Eagles. He's 3-2 against them since taking over the Bears and has won three of the last four.
Any chance the Bears switch it up and throw Zach Bowman out there as an extra DB, with Nick Roach coming in only for obvious run situations? Similar to what Green Bay does with Charles Woodson. In my opinion Bowman is more of a cover corner, being miscast in this defense and obviously unable to see the field as a result.
Great question, Nick. I could see them using Bowman in dime situations or quarters. But when the Bears go with just one extra defensive back, you know D.J. Moore has that job pretty much sewed up. I like Bowman's man-to-man skills, too. But I think the Bears have more faith in Moore as the nickel than Bowman.
Mike, In your opinion, does Cutler ever get to the elite level without a significant upgrade at the receiver position? How does Angelo not realize this?
Guy, I think Cutler can get to that level without the upgrade you're talking about. Tom Brady did it in New England. What Cutler needs obviously is protection, and more consistent offensive play calling. Remember that for the past two years this team has had to tweak the offense after spending training camp working on something else. So the biggest obstacle to Cutler's progression in my mind is Martz constantly having to change things. Cutler needs a foundation on offense, and he really hasn't had that throughout his whole career in Chicago.
Mike, what do you think the bears offensive strategy should be tonight? I feel like Philly has a real problem stopping the run. Dallas averaged over 8 yards a carry last week.
The Bears definitely need to stick to the run in this one. It's simple: keep Philadelphia's offense off the field. You do that by running the ball well and chewing up clock. Obviously, they won't be able to run the ball if they let Philadelphia get out to a lead. So the defense definitely has to do it's part early on and force some three and outs.
How have the Eagles performed in prime time? Any rhyme or reason?
They've been pretty good, Matt. The Eagles are 27-22 all-time on Monday Night Football and 16-11 at home. You also have to take into account Reid's record in November (38-18-1).
Folks, that's my time. But no worries. Jeff Dickerson has stepped into the building to take your questions. Check us out tonight on ESPNChicago.com for all the news related to what should be a big game for the Chicago Bears.
As Mike said, a beautiful day in Philadelphia. Let's keep it going for another 30 minutes.
Does Lance Louis's effort against babin tonight make or break whether or not he starts the rest of the year?
I doubt it. Mike Tice calls Louis one of the best five offensive linemen on the team. Even when Carimi comes back, I expect Louis to move back inside to guard. But who knows exactly when Carimi will be ready. Might be another week or so.
If the Eagles use their Wide 9 technique, doesn't that mean Forte should tear it up tonight?
That Wide 9 is effective rushing the passer, but it opens up running lanes between the guard and tackle. That will come down to Forte making a play against a Philadelphia LB or in the box safety. I like Forte's chances. The weakness of the Philly D, in my estimation, is their LBs and safeties.
Can the Eagles really be any good??? It doesn't look like they have beaten anybody worth a darn.
Bonnie, the Eagles are loaded with talent. But we'll find out in the next few weeks how good they really are. After the Bears tonight, Philadelphia takes on the Giants and Pats in the next few weeks following a home date with Arizona. This is make it or break it time for the Eagles.
Jeff, When Carimi comes back who goes to the bench...Williams or Spencer? To me Spencer has been the better or the two but doubt Angelo would allow another draft pick fail.
That's a tough question, Jon. My assumption at this time would be that Williams continues to play LG. Right now, I'd say Spencer goes back to the bench, but that could change depending on how it plays out the next game or so.
As much as I love DJ Moore in coverage and zone, it seems like wasted effort when they send him rushing. Why does Marinelli even send him rushing? Is it too risky to rush Tillman and put Moore/Conte on the split WR?
Jeremy, I have to disgree. I feel D.J. Moore is the best blitzer the Bears have on defense. I would expect to see him blitz numerous times tonight. He did the same exact thing in the Bears win over the Eagles last year, and it worked to perfection. For a little guy, Moore uses his speed to get to the QB. I'd send him early and often at Vick this evening.
Do see the bears having anorher TE next season Kellen is not playing good.
The Bears turned a position of strength into an area of weakness when they traded Greg Olsen and cut Desmond Clark. I imagine adding another TE will be a priority in the offseason, regardless if Mike Martz is still around.
do you think the young safeties will be up to the challenge tonight?
I think Conte is a smart guy. He's going to play deep and eliminate the long pass down the field. He seems like a very sharp kid. I have zero faith in Major Wright.
How big a factor does special teams play in this game?
Big factor. Could decide the game. Mike mentioned field position being an important aspect of the game....I couldn't agree with him more.
true or false? If the bears get 3 plus sacks and their offense doesn't turn the ball over, the bears win?
Is T.O really a realistic option for Chicago?
No. Jerry Angelo is not interested in T.O.
Does Jerry Angelo get fired if the Bears fail to make the playoffs this season?
When it comes to Angelo, I envision a scenario in which he retires. Not sure if the Bears would fire him per say.
Bears seem to be catching the Eagles at a bad time, whats the key to stopping the Eagles offense stop the run or pass?
I'd stop the run first. Force Vick to beat you. For whatever reason the Eagles only gave McCoy ten carries in that meeting last year in Chicago. The Bears would LOVE if McCoy only touched the ball a handful of times, but I don't expect that to happen. Stop McCoy and you can stop Vick. But if McCoy starts to run wild, it's going to open up things in the Philly passing game.
As you have mentioned, Kellen Davis has been disappointing. Any chance Kyle Adams gets more playing time?
Got to be honest, Kyle Adams isn't ready to contribute on offense. He's very raw and failed to block anybody in the preseason. If the season goes to hell, then I'd give Adams some playing time. Until then, I keep him strictly on special teams.
Are there any Bears friendly bars in Philly serving up some eagle stew? Why do you feel the eagles are 7.5 point favorites?
Good luck finding something Bears friendly in Philadelphia. Wear your Bears' jersey at your own risk at the Link. Eagles are favorites because (1) they're at home, (2) they throttled the Cowboys last week, and (3) the oddsmakers still don't think the Bears are very good.
Don't forget Mike and I chat live on ESPNChicago.com during the game. Have to jump on ESPN 1000 in a bit, talk to everybody later. Enjoy the game.