Aug 23, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) in the huddle before a play against the Oakland Raiders during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Keys to Victory is back and better than ever for an exciting 2013 season. To open the 2013 campaign, the Bears take on the Cincinnati Bengals, who have made playoff appearances the last two seasons. There shouldn’t be too many surprises from the Bengals. Much to the chagrin of James Harrison, they’ve let all of us into their locker room via HBO’s Hard Knocks.
On offense, the Bengals feature All Pro AJ Green, a pair of decent tight ends and a rookie running back who looks a bit like a Darren Sproles-type who drives his girlfriend’s mother’s minivan. On defense, Geno Atkins leads a surging defense which is stout up front and at the corners.
For the Bears, they have a little bit of an element of surprise working for them as no one really knows what new head coach Marc Trestman coming out of Canadian exile to breathe life into a Bears offense in huge need of a boost. On defense, a couple of key figures will be missing, with Brian Urlacher in a studio and Lovie Smith on a fishing boat somewhere.
This should be a tough matchup, but there are still some things the Bears can do to get themselves a victory. Here are my Keys to a Chicago Bears Victory:
Aug 23, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Fort (22) carries the ball against the Oakland Raiders during the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Get off the Bus Running
Here’s my nod to Lovie Smith and no, a “Rex is our quarterback” is not going to follow. The Bears will start a pair of rookies on their offensive line, the first time they’ve done that since 1983. Kyle Long and Jordan Mills have looked good in the preseason, but they’re not playing the Chargers or Raiders this week.
The best thing that Marc Trestman and the Bears offense can do is get off the bus running the ball. It will help protect the rookies and keep them from pass protection with long third downs.
I might just throw up in my NFL-approved clear plastic bag if Jay Cutler throws an opening play or even opening drive interception. Jay was on quite a streak in training camp for throwing interceptions to start practice. I don’t know if it was a focus problem. It’s not new this season. Cutler did the same thing last season in the opener against the Colts. Here’s a nice analysis of his pick-6:
The Bears can’t afford to get behind the Bengals. Start fast and keep the ferocious pass rushers at bay.