The Bears open up their season against the Colts, a team that's starting from the ground up in Indianapolis. The Colts are a team in transition and as a result the Bears should be able to attack their defense accordingly.
Today we're going to examine some of what the Bears should be able to accomplish against the Colts on offense and what some of the keys to this game will be.
The overall game plan should on finding an offensive rhythm as the Bears should be able to test out all aspects of their offense against the Colts. The Bears should be wide open in this game and should almost take this game as if it's another preseason game where the Bears can run through various aspects of their offense to establish a comfort in both the running game and the passing game.
The Colts are transitioning to a 3-4 defense under new head coach Chuck Pagano and don't quite have the personnel in place to run the defense to a high level of effectiveness.
Based on some preseason tape scouting and reports gathered from Colts analyst observations the Bears should be able to run the ball effectively against this defense. Dwight Freeney is transitioning from defensive end to outside linebacker, a position he's never played before and the Bears should be able to attack the edges with both Kellen Davis and Matt Spaeth in heavy run packages.
The Bears have consistently been one of the best outside zone and power running teams in the NFL and the implementation of Spaeth, Rodriguez and Davis should be extremely advantageous for the Bears. Attacking Freeney in open space should be the focus since it forces Freeney to read and then react, plus it puts him in one on one situations to be trapped by a pulling guard.
Getting Lance Louis or Chris Spencer a full head of steam to attack Freeney if he's attacking up the field will open up a lot running lanes for Forte and allow Gabe Carimi to get up to the second level to attack the linebackers.
What you see this week will be a lot of the same you see against the Packers the following week. The Bears have always attacked the edges of the Packers defense with Forte and likely will attack it the same way in week two.
The Bears should also be able to work on their protection schemes along the offensive line because of the exotic blitz packages they'll likely see from the Colts. Based on reports Freeney has struggled to get his pass rush going and the Colts are going to try and establish Freeney early. The more blitzes the Colts throw at the Bears the better, because every football team improves the most from their first game to the second.
The second game has the Bears squaring off against the Packers who like Pagano are going to rush the passer with exotic blitzes. The more the Bears are pressed by the blitzes out of the 3-4, the better prepared they'll be for the Packers the following week.
Now we get into Jay Cutler and the passing game and the Bears testing out their wide receivers against a very shaky Colts secondary. The Colts have depth and talent problems in the secondary which means the Bears can press their advantage with their three receivers and either Kellen Davis or Rodriguez. Rodriguez is listed as the starting FB/TE so if the Bears chose to they can put him as a FB with a no TE set, or a single back set three wide.
The Bears open up the Colts defense and really press their talent advantage in the passing game, something they couldn't do a year ago. Both Marshall and Jeffery obviously change all that, and the reliable Earl Bennett in the slot only serves to open up the middle of the field.
The main objective in this game is to get the offense in gear in preparation for the Packers. The Bears have a major talent and experience advantage over the Colts, and opening the game at home puts the onus on this team to come out and put one of their best performances of the season together.
The Bears have always been a strong home opening team, and this game should be no different in the performance and the result. A strong start on offense will serve to bolster the confidence of the team ahead of the week two showdown against the Packers.