Given the multitude of what Cutler described as “unorthodox” looks from New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the quarterback expects extra wrinkles to open the door for more mistakes on the part of the Saints. The key, though, is for the Bears to take advantage.
“If you’re gonna do that kind of stuff, you’re rolling the dice of offenses taking advantage of some of those creases,” Cutler said. “There’s definitely some looks out there that we’re gonna have some shots and stuff. But he’s gonna show us some different stuff that we haven’t seen. I guarantee that. The guys will basically have to stick to the rules and adjustments, and we have to play well.”
The first component of that takes place up front with the offensive line, which is sure to be challenged by a defense that runs multiple fronts, not to mention the deafening noise at the Superdome that virtually zaps a team’s ability to communicate.
The Bears' offensive line allowed five sacks (although just two, maybe three should be attributed to protection) in the season opener, and the likelihood of those numbers increasing against the Saints is considerable.
“Obviously, it’s a big challenge,” center Roberto Garza said. “They’re a good defense. They’ve got a number of fronts. So we have to be ready for those and some adversity. We’ve got to be able to hear something. We’re gonna work on different types of counts and stuff like that.”
The Bears also plans to pipe in some noise on loudspeakers on the practice fields behind Halas Hall to simulate the environment at the Superdome.
“It’s extremely loud. It’s going to be a challenge to get the play called, break the huddle, and get everyone rolling,” Cutler said. “If we go silent count, we’ll talk about that during the week. The biggest thing is just getting the play called, making sure everyone hears me; making sure everyone is on the same page. Once we get up to the line of scrimmage, it’s kind of like clockwork.”
But really, that won’t be the case.
In addition to exotic blitz packages featuring nickel corners, linebackers and safeties dialed up by Williams, the Bears need to constantly monitor the whereabouts of nose tackle Shaun Rogers, who is a disruptive force known to move all along the defensive line to exploit favorable matchups.
Rogers played approximately 15 snaps in the opener against the Packers, but the Bears aren’t expecting such inactivity on Sunday, given the extra time the Saints will have to prepare after opening the season with a Thursday night matchup.
Garza said all the extra looks the Bears anticipate mean extra study time for the entire offense.
“We have to know what to do during all types of situations,” Garza said. “There are no excuses. Our preparation is gonna be huge this week on top of the crowd noise and what not.”
That especially holds true for inexperienced tackles J’Marcus Webb and rookie Gabe Carimi, who were each responsible for a sack against the Falcons.
Having played in noisy games of high magnitude in college at Wisconsin, Carimi wasn’t sure about what to expect when the Bears face the Saints because of a lack of experience competing in indoor facilities.
“I honestly don’t know,” Carimi said. “I’ll find out.”
All Cutler knows is the Bears should expect the unexpected out of a Williams-coached defense. Film from the Thursday night game between the Packers and Saints should help tremendously.
“They do a lot of stuff. They’re going to send some crazy blitzes at you,” Cutler said. “They’ve had a couple extra days to prepare, so I’m sure they’re going to have some things dialed in for us. Fortunately for us, they did play Green Bay, and there’s a lot of good film out there of them getting spread out, and a lot of balls in the air with them. So we get to see a lot of different looks and how they’re going to react to different situations.”