Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010
By John Mullin
Forget about Michael Vick for a minute. The Bears have some major, serious issues to deal with Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles and not all of them involve Vick.
For all of the attention paid to Vicks emergence as an NFL passer, the Eagles are No. 3 in, not passing yards, but rushing yards, with more than 150 per game. The bad news is that this is not the Atlanta Falcons of earlier this decade when Vick was a huge component of the rushing offense and was supplanting Bobby Douglass and Fran Tarkenton as the running-est quarterback in NFL annals.
The really bad news is that Vick doesnt have to be what he was in Atlanta. LeSean McCoy is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and has 6 touchdowns. Vick has 375 yards and 5 TDs rushing, but thats through 10 games, McCoy is tied for 16th in pass receptions with 51 and Jeremy Maclin has 47, of which 7 were for touchdowns. DeSean Jackson is averaging 19.8 yards per reception and has 5 touchdowns.
The point isnt to just rattle of names and numbers. Its that this Philadelphia team has substantially more firepower than the ones that Donovan McNabb directed to multiple wins over the Bears.
Vick may be the most electric player in the NFL right now with the ball in his hands. The real story, however, is whats happening now that hes mastering the art of getting the ball out of his hands. And the Bears know it.
Weve played Michael Vick before, Lovie Smith said. Hes a great player. We normally do what we do with our defense. We dont normally change up what we do. We believe in our defense and its set up to play. We give him all the respect in the world. Our guys are expected about playing against him, but its not only him. Its more than Michael Vick. Its the Philly offense. They have good skill guys over there.
More bad news
Even worse, no team is really even close to the Eagles plus-15 turnover ratio (the Bears are up the track at plus-3). Thats fully 50 percent better than the plus-10 of Pittsburgh and Atlanta.
Worse still is that Philadelphias 19 interceptions, a big bulge on a passel of teams, including the Bears, with 15. But only Minnesota, Carolina and the New York Giants have thrown more than the Bears 15 picks, although only 10 of those were thrown by Jay Cutler.
If some of the faces look familiar in the upcoming Thanksgiving Play 60 video spot with the NFL and United way, they should. Israel Idonije and members of the Bears Rookie Club (Levi Horn, Joshua Moore, Averell Spicer, Barry Turner, JMarcus Webb, Corey Wootton, Major Wright, Harvey Unga) joined a number of other NFL players to send the message of get on the bus and get involved in Play 60 activities. The Bears segment was filmed with kids from the Chicago Youth Center.
Michael Vick is on the cover of the latest Sports Illustrated, and a portrait, not just an action shot. A good jinx may be just what the Bears need.
And they have game film of the Eagles against the Washington Redskins and New York Giants. Both beat the Bears and both were beaten by Vick and the Eagles, so there were lessons to be learned, more or less.
In that Washington game, it looked like he was jogging and the Redskins were running, but their angles were all messed up, which tells me hes at a different speed, said linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, laughing. Thats not fair... I watched the Washington game and thatll give you nightmares: How are you going to stop this guy?
The good thing is that hes one person and were 11 defenders and we feel like we match up well and know not to do some of the silly things that the Giants did. When youre in the game it can happen but I dont see us losing contain the way the Giants did.
John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.