The Kansas City Chiefs will head to Chicago this weekend to take on the Jay Cutler-less Bears.
Still, Chicago still has plenty of weapons on both sides of the ball. This is going to be a really tough road game for the Chiefs. To get you ready, I sat down with Boomer from Bear Goggles On, FanSided’s Chicago Bears site. Boomer runs perhaps the most entertaining Bears site on the planet. It is a must visit as we approach kickoff.
Now let’s go Inside The Enemy Camp with Boomer from Bear Goggles On!
It seems like every other year Lovie is on the hot seat. I think he is a good coach and the Bears should stick with him, but I am an outsider. What are your thoughts on the coach?
I think Lovie Smith is among the best coaches in the NFL on Monday through Saturday. He always has his team well prepared and ready to play. His players would run through a brick wall for him and never quit. On game days, though, Lovie leaves a lot to be desired. His clock management and use of challenges are mostly awful. If his game plan isn’t working, he’s slow to adapt and his teams are never best at making halftime adjustments.
I think that being on the hot seat over the last couple of seasons has definitely made Lovie raise his game. He has had a greater sense of urgency the last couple of years and it’s been reflected on the field. In the last season, the defense has mixed it up from his usual Cover-2 and done a lot of single safety and some man on man press coverage, which has made the defense a lot tougher to scheme against.
I know the last couple of years the Bears offensive line has had trouble protecting Cutler. How have they been performing this season?
The offensive line started off pretty badly early in the season. In Week 2 in New Orleans, Cutler was sacked 6 times including a brutal stretch in the 4th quarter which looked like a replay of the Bears’ game against the Giants last season where Cutler was concussed and forced to miss time. But give Mike Tice and Mike Martz a lot of credit for making some adjustments in the protections, play calling and personnel to solidify the line and give Cutler some time. Newcomer Chris Spencer is a mauler at right guard and former guard and current right tackle Lance Louis, filling in for promising rookie Gabe Carimi, have far exceeded my expectations.
I am from Ohio and am a big Buckeyes fan. I really wanted the Chiefs to snag my boy Sanzenbacher as an undrafted free agent but the Bears took him. I know he stepped in and played pretty well early this season as an injury fill-in. I love this kid because he’s smart, he catches everything and he can go across the middle and make tough catches, take hits and hold on to it.
What have been your thoughts on him? Do you see him growing to take a bigger role in this offense down the line?
Sanzenbacher did a nice job filling in at the slot receiver position when Earl Bennett went down with a chest injury in Week 2. The kid has a nose for the ball and seems to be able to make tough catches in traffic. His role has been diminished in recent weeks when Bennett returned to the starting lineup.
The challenge for Sanzenbacher is to stand out among a handful of receivers that are all of similar to his game. The Bears have a bunch of little, fast guys like Hester, Knox and Bennett, so it makes it hard for him to distinguish himself. The Bears still have a need for a big Red Zone target as Roy Williams has struggled to fill that role.
Bottom line, I think Sanzenbacher is a good pickup and with a full offseason to work with the offense, he could be a decent 4th or 5th receiver.
Aside from Dane, who are some other young Chicago players that KC fans might want to keep an eye on Sunday?
Be on the lookout for the Bears young safeties Major Wright and Chris Conte. The Bears secondary was kind of a mess early in the season with some blown coverages and missed assignments. It led the Bears to cut veteran Chris Harris and install the youngsters as starters and both have played pretty well. Wright is a big hitter who has also come up with a couple of key picks but has been known to take a few bad angles as well. Conte has been impressive in his limited time as a starter, but
What would you say is Chicago’s biggest weakness that the Chiefs might be able to exploit?
I think it’s safe to say that #12, backup quarterback Caleb Hanie has a big target on his back. The Raiders coaxed 3 interceptions from him and his inexperience makes the Bears’ road to the postseason a lot more difficult. Look for the Bears to try to establish Matt Forte and I expect to see a big dose of Marion Barber in the game as well.
I’m not expecting a big offensive showdown. The weather forecast calls for a cold and rainy day on the soggy Soldier Field turf. This is going to be a defense oriented, grind-it-out kind of game. I’m expecting the Bears to get a couple of takeaways from their defense and hoping Devin Hester can pop off a big return. Be on the lookout for Johnny Knox as Caleb Hanie’s favorite receiving target. Bears 20-13 over the Chiefs.