Chat with Wright, Jurko
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Join us on Thursday for our weekly Bears chat.
Michael Wright kicks things off from 11 a.m.-noon; Jurko wraps it up from noon-12:30 p.m. (All times CT.)
Send your questions now and join the chat Thursday at 11 a.m. CT/noon ET!
What needs to happen for Cutler to make better passing decisions? More time on the o-line?
Michael (12:03 PM)
Evan, that's a huge part of it. It seems to me that Jay Cutler has gained complete trust in the scheme, and he's become a lot more intuitive with his feel for the passing aspect of it. So I'm pretty confident in Cutler's decision making. The only thing that would affect it in my opinion is pressure, and schematic tweaks by the Packers defense.
The Green Bay lovefest is becoming unbearable. Are the Bears just too boring for the rest of the nation to root for?
Michael (12:05 PM)
No way, Gray. This team is far from boring. You've got funny characters like Lance Briggs, Rashied Davis, and even Jay Cutler to a certain extent (believe it or not, he can be a funny guy). Perhaps it's Lovie Smith's too-school-for-school demeanor that gives you the impression this team lacks characters. But believe me, there are plenty on this team.
Moses (Sandy, Utah)
Mike, can you tell Lovie to watch a Walter Payton, or the 85 Bears highlight reel for motivation for this Sunday's game. What do the Bears need to do to beat the Packers on Sunday?
Michael (12:06 PM)
Moses, the Bears just need to do what they do on both sides of the balls. It's as simple as that. When the Bears play up to their capabilities, I'd put them up against anyone. As far as the video goes, I'm pretty sure if they haven't already watched hours of the 85 Bears, it's definitely on the horizon.
What kind of numbers will Matt Forte have to put up for the Bears to win this game?
Michael (12:10 PM)
For me, it's more about the attempts than the actual yardage. If you look at the way the Packers have basically unleased the blitz out of their nickel looks, it's clear that they don't respect even the threat of the rushing attack. That's why the Bears struggled so much in the last game (0 for 3) on playaction passes. So if the Bears can pound the Packers, and pop a couple of decent runs, the Packers won't have any choice but to respect that rushing attack. That would help the Bears to back off the blitzing defense, and open up the playaction passing game.
M-Dub: What's the status on Chris Harris? If he starts, but proves ineffective, does that mean Bullocks gets to see the field? I noticed him in that Seattle game.
Michael (12:12 PM)
Great eye, Mo. Josh Bullocks did get a little playing time against the Seahawks. The Bears haven't practiced yet today, so we won't know for a couple of hours of whether Harris is available. Yesterday, Harris said there was no way he's missing this game. In fact, he said he'll sleep here at Halas Hall to get the necessary treatment to get his body right for Sunday's game. So my feeling is Harris starts against the Packers. One of the concerns is whether he'll be able to play the whole game. Count on seeing plenty of Major Wright, too. He's already a contributor to the rotation. But if Harris can't go, I could see Harris playing most of the snaps with Bullocks rotating in some (that won't happen in a perfect world).
who throws for more td's Cutler or Rodgers? Have the Packers said if they will kick to hester or not?
Michael (12:16 PM)
That's a tough one, Adam. I think this game will come down to defense, and the kicking game. Aaron Rodgers caught the Bears slipping in the secondary with a great pump fake that froze Danieal Manning for the split second required to get the ball over the top. Chicago's secondary rarely makes those types of mistakes. So I don't see Rodgers picking them apart by any stretch of the imagination. As for Cutler, I could see him possibly hitting a big play or two when the Packers blitz. Remember, the Packers brought the nickel blitz 19 times (16 times in the second half) the last time these teams played. Defensively, you're making yourself vulnerable to big plays when you blitz that often.
Is there anybody on the Packers who hasn't been interviewed on espn?
Michael (12:16 PM)
C'mon, Jake. The Bears are getting plenty of airtime, too. My fingers hurt right now from all the writing we've been doing on this team (that definitely deserves the publicity).
Does Rashid Davis have room on his head for a Lombardi Trophy?
Michael (12:17 PM)
Great question, Joey. I'm not sure. Davis' head is kind of small, and there's not much hair on it to do much artistically.
Jason Howell (Virginia Beac)
Hey Michael! I read in another blog that you used to work at the Daily Press in Newport News. I am from Surry County....across the James River Bridge. Wanted to share that first. But, do you think the Bears defensively have a bead on Green Bay's offense because the game in Week 17, Rodgers could not do anything!
Michael (12:19 PM)
Welcome, Jason. I've gotta get my Tidewater folks in on the chat. To answer your question, I would have to say yes. You're right, Rodgers didn't do much against the Bears. He hit a couple of big plays off uncharacteristic Bears mistakes that I don't see occuring this time around.
Hey Michael,Could you put in a word for me to win the 4th phase contest. I think I'd really like to come up to Chicago this weekend :) Go Bears!
Michael (12:19 PM)
Hey guys, give John the prize. That's the best I can do, my man.
Michael, everyone keeps talking about Rodgers performance at Atlanta...only one way to go with that type of performance - down! Agree?
Michael (12:21 PM)
That's probably the case, Eric. But you've also got to look at the difference in the schemes. Although the Falcons run a 4-3, they tried to bring a ton of pressure with nickel blitzes. Atlanta managed to get to Rodgers, but how many missed sacks did you see in that game? When you're blitzing with your guys in man coverage, you've got to make the sack when you get into the backfield. Atlanta failed to do that. The Bears don't play that style of defense.
Jeff (North Carolina)
I think Da Bears should run several side and middle screens early to slow down the blitz......do you agree??
Michael (12:22 PM)
To a certain extent, Jeff. But I think they need to run the ball right up the gut. Too many teams shy away from running right up the middle on these 3-4 teams.
Both Mel Kiper and Todd McShay say that the Bears are going to draft a defensive linemen in the first round. Shouldn't they be looking for offensive linemen?
Michael (12:24 PM)
Perhaps, Vishaal. But the problem with that is all the best talent on the offensive line will be gone by the time the Bears pick and usually guards and centers don't go high anyway. The draft usually contains much more talent at the defensive line positions than offensive line. Besides that, with Tommie Harris not likely to be back, I could see the Bears going after his replacement.
Live by the blitz, die by the blitz. Blitzes can be exposed, in my opinion. Cutler and Olsen burned Dallas on a blitz in week three.
Michael (12:26 PM)
Exactly, Adam. When the Seahawks walked up a safety for extra help against the run, it put Lawyer Milloy in a one-on-one situation with tight end Greg Olsen. We all know what happened after that.
Following up on Eric's question, Rodgers did have a good game against a much weaker defenese INDOORS. Chances are that outside in Bear weather, against a much better defense, his game will suffer some, Your thoughts?
Michael (12:28 PM)
Syed, I don't think indoors or outdoors matters much for a guy like Rodgers, who is 7-3 over his career when the temperature is 30 degrees or below. If anything, it's the Packers receivers who would suffer from the game being outdoors.
Nathan (Coralville, IA)
Is Starks good enough to do much against the Bears defense?
Michael (12:29 PM)
Honestly, Nathan, I don't think so.
Whats going on Mike just thinking ahead here between the jets & steelers which do u think the Bears have better match up's with???
Michael (12:29 PM)
Well, you saw what happened the last time the Bears played the Jets. So I like that matchup better.
jurgen (st pete florida)
tommie harris is playing very well lately. do you see the bears keeping him. he has 1 year left on his current contract.
Michael (12:30 PM)
I could see it happening, Jurgen. But I could also see them asking him to take a pay cut. That's gonna be an interesting situation to watch in the offseason.
Randy (South Mississippi)
Do you think this game should prove to be another huge opportunity for the Bears tight ends? The Packers have very solid corners with woodson, williams, and shields. So do you think attacking the middle of the field is the best option for the passing game?
Michael (12:32 PM)
Randy, the funny thing is the Bears tried to go down the middle of the field a couple of times to Greg Olsen, who dropped a couple of key passes. I could see the Bears attacking the middle to expose mismatches between Olsen and the safeties.
Nathan (Coralville, IA)
Are there any other teams looking into hiring any of the Bears assistant coaches. I sure hope not--want this group to stay together for a long time, at least for another season!
Michael (12:33 PM)
Not that I've heard of just yet, Nathan. But it's funny you brought that up because I think with what Mike Tice has done with that offensive line, he deserves an opportunity somewhere. I think the same thing about Rod Marinelli. He's been phenomenal.
After all the brouhaha about Jay's personality and what not last week (and for the last two years to be honest), do you think journalists and fans are more quick to be critical of players' personality now than in the past? It seemed like before fans just cared about winning.
Michael (12:37 PM)
I disagree with that. There was actually better access to the players in the past, giving journalists more insight into their personalities, which was relayed to the fans. I will say that in this current world of instant information, though, everything is just delivered a lot quicker and more widespread. But I think the fans still care about a player's personality because they want to be able to relate to them on some level. As journalists, our job is to serve as a liason between the players and the fan. So when journalists are trying to find out more about a player's personality, they're doing it to relay that information to you guys.
any chance of an off season pick up of an all pro lineman, like logan mankins or matt light?
Michael (12:38 PM)
Charlie, it all depends on whether ownership opens the pocketbook again. It's a situation that's impossible to predict right now though with the CBA uncertainty.
Follow up to question, do you think national writers tend to dislike Jay Cutler because he does not play the game and give them the answers they want? Is this the reason he is always under the microscope?
Michael (12:40 PM)
Tom, Cutler is under the microscope because he's got phenomenal, almost limitless talent, and people want more insight into what makes him tick. When Cutler doesn't let folks in, I'm sure it rubs them the wrong way. But that's not why he's under the microscope. Cutler's great talent has put him there.
Fitz (My Cube)
Michael, does the bears D create any turnovers this week? No way we can win like last week without at least one? you think Peanut makes a strip?
Michael (12:41 PM)
Fitz, you know that Peanut is the stripmaster. So you can count on those guys putting a ton of effort towards making that happen. The Bears finished that last game equal in turnover ratio with the Packers. The Bears were 1-3 in that situation during hte regular season. They were 7-0 when they finished on the plus side of the turnover ratio, a fact that I'm sure has been drilled into the players' heads this week.
Chris (my desk)
I am going to the game sunday - Do you think with all the tickets on the market the game is going to be mostly packer fans? I have not heard anything on this issue. I HOPE NOT GO BEARS
Michael (12:42 PM)
Are you kidding, Chris? Bears fans are gonna flood Soldier Field, and the stadium is gonna be rocking like nothing you've ever seen. My best advice for you is to get there early. It's gonna be epic.
If you're Green Bay, how would you approach attacking the Bears offense?
Michael (12:44 PM)
I'd play a little more zone coverage than the last time and see if I could get pressure with the front as opposed to manufacturing it with blitzes. That would put Cutler into a situation where he'd have to read the defense and make appropriate decisions. If the Packers struggle playing coverage, they could always pin their ears back and bring the heat. The best way to defend the Bears though is to mix it up. I'm sure that's what Dom Capers is gonna do.
John ((Regent University Grad))
What can or will the offense do to get Hester and Knox open this time around? They combined for one catch in they week 17 match up, but I think if they can contribute a little more, it will help tremendously.
Michael (12:45 PM)
Get them involved early with short throws designed to let them take advantage of their significant run-after-catch ability.
Terry harris (Iraq)
Since peppers is such a good athlete. I think when the bears line up in there base defense the 4-3 they should shift into a 3-4 look before the snap by dropping peppers into a lb spot and have him shoot a gap or play the underneath route so the lb can drop back a little deeper to secure the middle a little bit better. I feel we have a great line rotation to pull it off and i have seen the bears drop him in coverage before and he peppers makes to much money to just rush the passer. What do you think of that idea. Do you think the bears will do something to try to catch the pack off guard with the teams knowing each other so well I think they might need to do at least one thing to catch the pack off guard. Thanks!
Michael (12:48 PM)
Terry, thanks for all that you guys are doing for us here stateside. As for your suggestion, I don't see that happening. It's too late in the game to make significant changes. The Bears will continue to play their base 4-3, Cover-2 oriented stuff (but don't get it twisted, the Bears play tons of coverages). It's what they know, and excel at doing.
Michael, despite all sorts of limitations - including the early injury to Carlson - Hasselbeck threw three touchdowns and for over 250 yards against the Bears last Sunday (and if his receivers ever learned how to catch, it would have been much worse). Shouldn't Bears fans be concerned that the Bears will be facing much better quarterback and receiving corps (all of whom are red hot) this week?
Michael (12:49 PM)
Maybe, Ed. But the fact is the Bears know the Packers probably better than any other team. The Bears didn't know the Seahawks as well because they came into the system with a new coach and schematic differences from 2009.
I believe Jay should do what Aaron Rodgers does every year and go to that quarterback school and work on his mechanics. Whats your take.Thanks
Michael (12:50 PM)
Francis, it wouldn't surprise me at all if Jay Cutler worked with a quarterback coach in the offseason on his mechanics. Once a player tastes success for the first time, he wants more. Mark my words: Cutler will want MORE.
Who do you think is the more moble Qb Cutler or Rogers???
Michael (12:51 PM)
Rodgers, without a doubt. Cutler is more athletic. But Rodgers does a better job of sliding laterally and feeling the rush.
Peter (Nassau, Bahamas)
To Ed, most of Hasselbecks stats were in garbage time. Stats don't mean squat. San Diego has the #1 offense and defense and they are?
Michael (12:51 PM)
Tell 'em, Peter.
Tee22 (Houston, TX)
Huge Bear Fan here!!! But GB has great coaches and players. What type of gameplan do you see them coming up with sunday against the bears-D?
Michael (12:52 PM)
Tee, there won't be a ton in terms of changes. In fact, you should anticipate only minor tweaks. The biggest difference in Green Bay's offense this time around is they'll probably committ more to the rushing attack with James Starks. As soon as the Bears shut that down, it's back to the air attack. Just watch.
I don't see how a team (besides Indy) will win many games in the playoffs late (Championship Game & Super Bowl) w/o a running game. Bears establish a run game, Bears win...agree?
Michael (12:53 PM)
tristen (Twin Falls/ID)
I've noticed players like Peyton Manning and his brother, along with other qb's pouting when they aren't succeeding much like Cutler. In fact, Peyton openly calls out teammates. If Cutler pulls this game off, do you think it would soften the tone of writers like Rick Reilly, who unfairly destroyed him in his article without getting a good picture of Cutler?
Michael (12:56 PM)
First off, Tristen, Reilly didn't destroy Cutler. Reilly simply wrote his opinion, and I thought he was actually pretty even-handed in what he wrote. The difference between the Mannings and Cutler, obviously, is they've got Super Bowl rings, and are personable in dealing with the media. Winning is definitely a cure all, so I could see the tone on Cutler softening a bit. I could also see Cutler opening up a little bit more. Part of me thinks that Cutler's distant personality is more about him wanting to let his game do the talking, so to speak.
do you think the bears running game will be able to get going early?
Michael (12:57 PM)
I do. And I think the Bears will exert tons of effort trying to make it happen to chew up clock and keep Aaron Rodgers off the field.
Hey Wright will you make fun of Simmons for me when you see him next. He really picked the Waterchickens to beat the Bears. Tell him The Jake has revoked his man card.
Michael (12:58 PM)
Jake, you'd better revoke mine, too. I also picked the "Waterchickens".
Steve (Wilmette, IL)
How much cap space do the Bears have this off-season to go after a need? Hopefully we have enough cap space to sign a guy like Logan Mankins, Matt Light, or Alan Faneca.
Michael (12:59 PM)
Well, that's the problem, Steve: nobody knows what the cap is gonna be when/if a new CBA is reached.
Sunday will be rockin at the Lakefront. Do you foresee a 13-10 type game or a shootout (like the Jets game) 35-31?
Michael (12:59 PM)
I'm thinking a physical, low-scoring affair.
Michael (1:00 PM)
Guys, that's my time. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me here. Please keep it locked on ESPN 1000 and ESPNChicago.com for all your Bears-Packers information. Jeff Dickerson and I are grinding for you guys. Thanks.
ESPNChicago.com (1:03 PM)
Guys, Jurko is unavailable today. Sorry. We'll see you Monday. Thanks.