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15 on 6: Cutler understands Bears-Packers rivalry

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15 on 6: Cutler understands Bears-Packers rivalry

Friday, Sept. 24, 2010
4:45 PM

By Jim Miller
CSNChicago.com

Just got off air for Sirius NFL Radio. I could not have been more fired up to chat with Jay Cutler, who joined us on air today. To give you a little background about this weekend's matchup, I asked Jay last year, when he arrived in Chicago, if he realized what BearsPackers represented? After all, the start of his Bears career kicked off Week 1 against the dreaded rival Packers. I could tell by his response, he was not prepared for what he was getting into. He acknowledged as much in a follow-up interview later in the year. The promise of a coach, the backlash of the fans, and former players with plenty of analysis.

What a difference a year makes. The most storied rivalry in football resumes Monday Night with a Bears QB at the helm who now understands the gravity of the game. Jay mentioned he never experienced a game with as much intensity and hype in the AFC West. San Diego was the team to beat, but Kansas City was historically always Denver's rival. The Raiders assumed that mantle because of Mike Shanahan's hatred of Al Davis. My point is, rivalries cannot be manufactured. Bears vs. Green Bay is the most pure, historical, emotional and intense a match-up that can never be duplicated. You have to experience it, to understand what it truly means and how deep it goes.

Green Bay D

Slow down Clay Matthews! Jay talked about why he has backpedaled from underneath the center quite a bit in the first two games. Sometimes you just need to see what is going on! Facing Kyle Vandenboesch, DeMarcus Ware and now Clay Matthews, look for that to continue. Matthews has six sacks after two games, the first Packer ever to accomplish that feat. Sometimes, I expect Clay to be completely unblocked to set up a screen to his side. The Bears have been very impressive with their screen game this year. Backpedaling out allows Jay more comfort seeing hot reads and anticipating throws.

No Huddle

I would expect a no huddle at some point from the Bears or a lot of quick content. Line up and go! It is problematic for Green Bay. When I ran the scout team for the Steelers, our defensive coordinator Dom Capers and linebackers coach Dick Labeau were starting to forge their careers on defense. They hated no huddle and quick count. The strength of Dom's 3-4 defense is their pre-snap look is very different than their post-snap reality. They want to show one thing and do something entirely different as the cadence moves along to the snap. No huddle and quick count will force Green Bay to line up into their final defensive look. The Bears can force Green Bay to show their hand, and now Jay can call a favorable play at the line of scrimmage.

Jim Miller, an 11-year former NFL quarterback, is a Comcast SportsNet Bears analyst who can be seen each week on U.S. Cellular Bears Postgame Live. Miller, who spent five seasons with the Bears, analyzes current Chicago QB Jay Cutler in his "15 on 6" blog on CSNChicago.com and can be followed on Twitter @15miller.

Anthony Miller is hyped about Nick Foles' knowledge of Bears' offense

Anthony Miller is hyped about Nick Foles' knowledge of Bears' offense

One of the main reasons the Bears targeted Nick Foles in an offseason that was overflowing with quality quarterbacks to challenge Mitch Trubisky for Chicago's starting job is his familiarity with Matt Nagy's offense. The Bears knew what they were getting when they traded a fourth-round pick to the Jaguars for the former Super Bowl MVP, and in the current COVID-19 reality, that knowledge of who Foles is as a quarterback is more valuable than the team could've ever imagined.

So is Foles' comfort with the playbook. 

Unlike traditional offseasons when players have a chance to acclimate themselves with their new city, teammates, coaching staff, and offensive system, the novel coronavirus has thrust the Bears' quarterback competition into a shotgun four-week run that Foles is oddly equipped to handle. He's already made a positive early impression on wide receiver Anthony Miller.

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“You can definitely tell that Nick has been playing this game for a long time, and he knows this offense very well," Miller said Friday during a Zoom call with reporters. "He’s very detailed in practice, you can catch him in the back of an offensive play going through his progressions and he’s not even in, so that’s just the type of player he is, and I can’t wait to see him live action to see what he really can do.”

It feels like the Trubisky vs. Foles showdown has been underway since March, but the reality is it's just getting started. Padded practices begin next week and will give Chicago's coaches and players their first real opportunity to evaluate which quarterback gives the team the best chance to win.

According to Miller, the starting gig is up for grabs.

“This is going to be an interesting competition to see and the best man is going to get the job.”

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Super Bowl or bust? Why Bears' championship formula is backward in 2020

Super Bowl or bust? Why Bears' championship formula is backward in 2020

First, the good news: The Bears can win Super Bowl LV.

Why not? It’s August.

If Matt Nagy can find the right quarterback and Ryan Pace’s play to overhaul the tight end room pays off, this offense could be a ton of fun to watch. And if the addition of Robert Quinn gives the Bears the sort of fearsome pass rush we expect it will, this defense should be among the best in the NFL – and more than good enough to win a Super Bowl.

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There’s absolutely no part of me that’s going to tell you the Bears cannot win a Super Bowl before we’ve seen them practice, let alone play a game, in 2020.

“We want to win a Super Bowl,” wide receiver Allen Robinson said. “Every day we come into the facility, all our meetings and things like that, I think that our coaches are doing a really good job for everybody to keep that in mind and that's the main thing.”

Okay, but you’re probably waiting for the bad news. I just didn’t want to start with it. Because while it's not impossible for the Bears to make a Super Bowl run, there's a big reason why it feels unlikely. 

The Bears’ formula for winning in 2020, seemingly, is pairing a good enough offense with an elite defense. It’s what got them to the playoffs in 2018 as NFC North champions. It’s what could get them back to the playoffs again this season.

But an “eh, it’s fine” offense coupled with an awesome defense is not a formula that wins you a Super Bowl in 2021. As the last 10 Super Bowls tell us, it pays to have a great offense – and doesn’t matter if you have a great defense.

The last 20 Super Bowl participants, on average, had the sixth-best offense in a given year as ranked by Football Outsiders’ DVOA. The average ranking of their defenses was about 12th.

It’s been even more pronounced over the last four years. On average, a Super Bowl team in that span ranked fourth in offense and 16th in defense.

Only two teams in the last decade reached a Super Bowl with an offense outside the top 10 in DVOA (Denver in 2015, Baltimore in 2012 – notably, both teams still won). Eleven of the last 20 teams to make a Super Bowl had a defense outside the DVOA top 10, including last year’s Kansas City Chiefs.

MORE: Why you shouldn't worry about Allen Robinson getting a contract extension

So the Bears, as currently constructed, do not appear built to win a Super Bowl. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done – we’re not all that far removed from the 2015 Broncos hoisting the Lombardi Trophy with the No. 25 offense and No. 1 defense – but recent history suggests it’s unlikely.

That is, unless Nagy can find the success his former peers (Doug Pederson, Andy Reid) had with his offensive scheme. Make no mistake: Offense leads Super Bowl runs, with defense a supporting character. Not the other way around. And it feels like the Bears have it the other way around. 

 

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