96 Comments

Bears at Packers Game Preview Addendum

| November 7th, 2014

pep

Can the Bears hit Aaron Rodgers enough times to make him not want to finish the football game?

Greg Blache was the first person in professional football I heard publicly state sacks were an overrated statistic. He was no longer Bears defensive coordinator a few months later.

Sacks are important. They are more important than pressures and hurries. They are more important than the newest ludicrous stat: disruptions. (According to Adam Hoge’s disruption chart Lamarr Houston was having a Hall of Fame year.) The reasons sacks are important should be obvious to anyone who has ever watched an NFL game. (1) It involves hitting the opposing team’s quarterback and potentially knocking him from the game. Nobody roots for injuries in the league but knocking the opposing QB out of the game has been a goal of defensive coordinators since defensive coordination began. (2) When you sack the quarterback, he is holding the football and thus there is a chance he will drop it and you might pick it up.

I’ve never heard of someone hurrying an opposing QB out of a game. Nobody has ever disrupted a fumble.The Bears need only to look at their win at Lambeau a year ago to understand why they must hit Aaron Rodgers Sunday night. (And I’m talking about hitting him in the black-and-white highlights on an old Zenith, John Facenda symphonic narration kind of way.)

Rodgers is a rhythm passer who will dissect any defense without hitting the ground repeatedly. The Bears need to make Rodgers aware that every attempt more than five yards down field comes with a bruise. If they can’t achieve this with their front four, they must manufacture the pressure. Can they do it? Will they try to do it?

Will Kyle Fuller and Tim Jennings be lined up on Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb exclusively?

A Tweet from Matt Bowen:

Would like to see play true matchups on D vs. in Cover 1. Put Fuller on Nelson & Jennings on Cobb regardless of alignment.

Here’s the real question: why wouldn’t the Bears do this? Kyle Fuller is the Bears best cover corner. Jordy Nelson is the Packers best receiver and Rodgers’ favorite target. Sports is, more often than not, a head-to-head competition between two athletes. If Nelson burns Fuller repeatedly, so be it. Go down swinging with your best instead of constantly losing assignment football. (By the way, the same goes for Jennings and Cobb.)

The Bears project Fuller as a ten-year starter and the anchor of the defense for years to come. Asking him to push Nelson into a space where one of the team’s non-professional safeties will assume responsibility is a recipe for 15 catches, 165 yards, 2 touchdowns.

Can the Bears offense finish drives?

Against the Packers at Soldier Field this season the Bears gained 496 yards. They scored 17 points. That calculates to roughly a point scored every 29.18 yards gained.

In their other seven games this season the Bears are averaging 333.28 yards per game and scoring roughly 23.29 points. That calculate to roughly a point scored every 14.31 yards gained. If this doesn’t prove the Packers game was anomaly, nothing will. The Bears scored at less than half their productivity average. (If this isn’t already a statistic I am thinking about making it one. Most of the best offenses are in the 13-15 range when it comes to this statistic. The Patriots are in the 11s amazingly.)

Field goals won’t win Sunday night’s game. Long, sustained drives keeping Rodgers off the field will be helpful but won’t win Sunday night’s game. The Bears need touchdowns. They need at least four of them and maybe more. If they don’t get them, they’ll lose. Simple, American football.

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  • http://www.upitpuppet.com/ evantonio

    first to wish we still had curtis enis.

    seriously. first one ever.

    • beninnorcal

      I’m putting in my vote for Brock Forsey. Yeah, I miss that guy. That one good game he had against the Cardinals, and look how good they are now..

    • AlbertInTucson

      And likely, the last.

    • SC Dave

      lol… how long have you been waiting to be first so you could post that?

      • http://www.upitpuppet.com/ evantonio

        it just came to me. the ghost of halas whispered in my ear =]

    • GPLDAN

      If David Terrell was our 3rd wideout, we’d be golden.

      Also, Curtis made wearing adult braces cool. I think.

      • http://www.upitpuppet.com/ evantonio

        if Terrell were our third wideout, he’d be playing with no balls. says terrell when asked what he would’ve given to play with cutler:

        “I would have cut off both my balls. I’d give those up, no problem. You could have neutered me. I woulda been neutered with a smile.”

        http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/06/12/david-terrell-i-wasnt-a-bust-the-bears-just-had-bad-qbs/

        • DocNitty(BallsStillOrnamental)

          I’m sure Cutty would offer to cut off both his own balls NOT to have to play with Terrell.

  • AlbertInTucson

    Get to Rodgers or get shredded.

    • Viva

      We need to plant him.

  • http://www.dabearsbeat.com/ Johnathan Wood

    Couldn’t agree more on all accounts.
    1) Hit Rodgers. Part of this involves having your secondary bump guys to disrupt timing. Part of it involves Ratliff and Allen making their presence felt (weren’t there in week 4). Part of it involves Tucker dialing up good blitzes.
    2) Bowen said every play should have Fuller on Jordy focusing on taking away anything underneath, with a S over the top to take away deep stuff. Take away the best option and make the other guys beat you. This is 100% what Chicago needs to do. This is what they should have done against Gronk, only they didn’t, because Mel Tucker didn’t game plan to account for the fact that the top target was 10000x better than everybody else.
    3) Yeah. Any drive with a FG is a wasted drive, unless it’s to take the lead with less than 2:00 left in the game. Go for it on every 4th and less than 5 inside of GB territory. Balls to the wall, in it to win it. No playing it safe (same goes for that pussy soft zone they love to play).

    • GPLDAN

      The only soft zone we like around here is the one Dr. Strange finds routinely.

  • Viva

    FUCK THE PACK

  • Viva

    In the first contest the Pack did not punt…there offense was too busy posting points. Field position did not matter. Rodgers was going to score from anywhere on the field. Moral of the story: don’t punt the ball to him on 4th down. Go for it. I don’t care if its from our 6 yard line. We have a better shot at making a first down than keeping Rodgers out of the end zone.

  • GPLDAN

    Jeff –

    The mentality that the Packer game was an anomoly and that the 500 yards of offense means don’t change the attack plan is a recipe for disaster. What worked last time will not work again. Trestman’s downfall was to fail to understand that other teams would adjust to his offense which is surprisingly limited. Alshon on the Jet sweep anyone?

    • http://www.dabearsbeat.com/ Johnathan Wood

      so far this year they have run the Alshon sweep 5x for 25 yards, done a variation of it for a 10 yard TD against GB, and used it as a fake to help spring Forte on nice runs even more.

      I have many issues with Trestman as a coach, including his play calling, but he has been great with that Alshon around.

      • BerwynBomber

        GB’s CBs can be vulnerable to sweeps since Woodson left. Shields and Williams are solid man2man guys but neither is a badass run supporter like Woodson was.

  • Viva

    I don’t know if Rob O’Neil has a family, but if he does, he put a giant target on their backs. Time to disperse.

    Why?

    • GPLDAN

      He’s a motavational speaker now. He wanted to drum up bidness.

      Why he mustered out at 17 years when all he needed was 20 for a full pension is another mystery.

      • Viva

        Would you feel safe if you were his Dad?

        • GPLDAN

          Again, I don’t understand why he or Bissonnette did what they did.

          • Viva

            Senseless.

  • BillW

    Yards per point has promise as a statistic. I thought of one more basic – points per drive. Another I thought of is percent of needed yardage per drive. To me these are better qb stats since they measure their overall effectiveness. Only problem I have with them is how to factor in ints.

    • http://www.dabearsbeat.com/ Johnathan Wood

      those are overall offensive stats, not QB stats.

      There are places that do yards per point, yards per drive, and points per drive. I’ve never seen anybody do the % of needed yards though. Interesting concept.

      • DaBearsBlog

        I have been working on a new QB stat for a while but I don’t have the time. But I am evaluating quarterbacks as an official scorer. Throwaways can be positive plays. Sacks can be alarming negatives. Drops don’t count against QB. Bubble screens for 80 yards don’t get credited to QB. Dropped INTs are negatives. The scores for QBs are vastly different to the passer ratings out there.

        • http://www.dabearsbeat.com/ Johnathan Wood

          There are places that track some of that too. I know PFF has their own QB rating based on yards through the air and accuracy %, among other things.

          That’s an awesome idea, but is really hard to implement because you need to watch every single play, and even then some of it is up to interpretation.

          It’s nice to be able to work with cold, hard stats that don’t require film study and can’t be said to be biased, but they have inherent limitations that your efforts are trying to work around. Catch 22.

        • Donnnnn’t Caaaaarrrrrre!

          Bubble screens don’t count? What if the pass to get the bubble screen was placed so perfectly that it allowed the receiver to juke the first defender who would have otherwise made the tackle? Or what if the throw came out sidearm to fly underneath the arms of the edge rusher?
          Gotta love the intricate nature of football.

        • Barb UMihai Mar

          That’s Pro Football Focus Jeff. They do all that with their QB rating.

  • Peanut FTW

    Oh man, the game was awesome last night. A good friend I hadn’t seen in a while is a Cleveland fan and we watched the game together. Had a blast, then I log in this morning to see that the guy Im against in FF this week started not only Bernard who was held out but Andy Dalton at QB. So for his 2 spots he earned -1.76 points. Awesome.

  • TheBigCheesy

    One time the packers hit jay cutler so hard he didn’t want to finish the game. The pack almost ended up losing that game as a result. They’ll never make that mistake again.

    • http://www.upitpuppet.com/ evantonio

      you can’t stop caleb hanie. you can only hope to contain him.

  • Peanut FTW

    Yards per point? That might be the dumbest statistic imaginable.
    The SF game alone would throw a horrible kink into the numbers. Turnover putting the ball inside the 10 happens and throws everything out of whack. It also doesn’t account for initial set turnovers, those would go almost unnoticed. So it really doesn’t account for red zone efficiency, third down conversion rate or turnovers…. what the f does it do?

    • DaBearsBlog

      It actually does exactly what you’re arguing it doesn’t do. Go and look at the entirety of the league (you won’t but I did) and you’ll find the stat actually accurate evaluates the most effective, efficient offenses in the league.

      • Peanut FTW

        Mathematically, I disagree. If you could show a theorem proving this statistic to be deduced from fact, then I could find it to be true. Otherwise, I am simply looking at numbers that could have absolutely zero relationship outside of coincidence.

        • http://www.dabearsbeat.com/ Johnathan Wood

          I think yards per drive is pretty good, if you pair it with points per drive. But yards per point is good too, you just have to look at average starting field position with it for context.

      • TheBigCheesy

        Wouldn’t points per play be better? Or yards per play?

        • Peanut FTW

          Points per play would over value quick strike, 5 play drives and fluke TDs over sustained ball control drives that could be even more dominant depending on the game.

          On a given play yards matter, even inches can matter but yards are pretty meaningless in football when looking at an entire game. I think Peyton passed for over 400 yards in the Pats game when they got blown out. 200+ meaningless yards that came once the game was out of reach and the D was letting them have all the yards they want as long as the clock runs.

          Points are obviously key, turnovers are huge, then you start to get fairly hazy. Time of poss. can be big but not always, 3rd down efficiency is usually big. Very few stats are very useful.

          • TheBigCheesy

            Just because you can come up with scenarios in which each statistics can sometimes be misleading, it doesn’t mean that statistics aren’t useful or meaningful. And over time, as the sample size increases, statistics will reveal genuine trends.

            And what are we comparing statistics against? Subjective perception. I mean, that’s basically what’s left, right? And Subjective perception is certainly as fallible as statistics are.

          • Peanut FTW

            Actually, one situation that would make math not work is how you prove or disprove it.

            Stats are pretty pointless and narrowing in on a coincidental trend doesn’t make something true. I mean we could say that the Bears wearing blue Jerseys this year is causing them to lose and prove it so far this year; but it doesn’t make it a fact.

          • GPLDAN

            Stats are pretty pointless and narrowing in on a coincidental trend doesn’t make something true.

            As somebody with a otherwise mostly useless M.S. in Stats, I would like to point out the usual “correlation doesn’t mean causation” axiom that Peanut is reaching for here.

            I go into a long schpiel about how Jeff could show that yards gained per point was a meaningful reflection of offesnive prowess but it involves ugly words like stepwise regression and stuff nobody wants to hear about.

          • BillW

            I wanna hear about it. MS in Stats too and I teach it and use it for a living.

          • GPLDAN

            Ah well. I defer to your superior Hyde Park education then.

            Hit us with some Kurtosis, Billy boy!

          • BillW

            I had a bad case of kurtosis but then I switched to a new mouthwash.

          • BillW

            The new thing in modeling now is neural networks. Took a class that covered it briefly – but since the resultant model is literally inexplicable it has no place in a regulated industry like mine.

            Sound perfect for Trestman though.

          • TheBigCheesy

            backwards or forwards stepwise regression?

          • GPLDAN

            It’s Packer regression, actually.

            No wait… Packer regression is when somebody from Wisconsin slowly withdraws their penis from their sister’s bum.

          • TheBigCheesy

            I’ve spent more time in Illinois than I have in Wisconsin and I gotta say. All y’all seem pretty similar to me.

          • BillW

            I suspect there would be a huge issue with multicolinearity in any model developed. To say nothing of spurious correlations.

            And don’t get me started on homoskedasticity. The blog would have a field day on that..

          • GPLDAN

            Packer fans are excellent at homoskedasticity. There are many cold, lonely nights up there when they break that out.

          • TheBigCheesy

            oooo a homo joke from GPLDAN. You can do better than that, danny boy

      • Peanut FTW

        Additionally, even if it were a decent statistic. How would you go about changing it? Well boys, we really need to get our yards per point down. So here’s the deal, we really need a short field today. D, STs you guys have probably never realized this but if you can give the O a short field all day we can really get that number down.

        • BillW

          Apologies – didn’t see you post before I typed something similar. Would love to see how our field position stacks up against the league this year.

    • DocNitty(BallsStillOrnamental)

      I’m inclined to agree. With that Statistic Rex Grossman would have been the best QB in the history of the universe in ’06.

      There’s only one statistic that matters.

      Wins baby. Wins.

      • BillW

        The goal – at least in my mind – is to measure offensive efficiency / inefficiency over a sample of several games. You start with the obvious (teams that outscore their opponents win 100% of the time) and try to find correlations. Way too many variables to find any kind of Holy Grail, but there are indicators. QB rating is not a good one ion my opinion. Who cares if the drive ended in a TD pass or TD run as long as it ended in a TD? Yet the QB has a lot to do with the success of any drive, even if it’s primarily runs.

        Virgil Carter years ago write a paper on the value of field position. I had the paper – available in academic journal databases. I suspect that’s still the single most reliable statistics related to wins/losses.

        But along with that is my idea on % of yards needed. Longer drives flip the field even without scoring. I just don’t know how to factor in turnovers. One idea is to factor in punts somehow and treat an INT similarly. But that has obvious flaws.

        An INT is the second most devastating play. A lost fumble on a strip-sack is the worst in my opinion.

        • GPLDAN

          I doubt yards per point even scatter-plots into a normal distribution.

          • BillW

            Yeah. Starting to doubt that one. I like points per drive and or percent of yards needed better

      • BillW

        And not to stretch the point too far, but Rex really was relatively good in 2006.

    • Peanut FTW

      If you want a meaningless stat that even more accurately reflects current trends, simply take Points per game on O and subtract PPG allowed on D and then sort that out. It is much better about pulling up a team like Detroit that is plying lights out Defense. Still leaves Pitt way under Baltimore which is an apparent glitch but it is closer.

      • BillW

        It’s a better stat than points for / against naturally, but still the question is – what is the indicator or contributor to each?

        I still suspect field position is king – and that helps explain why turnover ratio is so important. Loss of possession before fourth down is a killer to field possession. And so is a missed long FG. And not getting past the 20 on kickoffs etc etc

        In fact, even though we all know the special teams are bad – I’ve not heard much on where we rank on field position vs the rest of the league.

  • GPLDAN

    If only we had Brad Muster at FB this game

    • Trac

      I knew we’d be terrible without Brad Muster this year.

      #myinnerBill

      • BillW

        I came to the blog somehow sensing you were channeling me. Scary.

        • Sactowns#1

          Wheres Blake Costanzo when you need him? (Answer: probably being pushed into the backfield)

          • TheBigCheesy

            Throwing shade at Marc Trestman

          • Sactowns#1

            I think you should recruit a Vikings fan and Lions fan. They can fight over which one is Johnny Snow.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTMuZSeSwIk

          • johnnywad

            Are you on a Packers blog too? Or is it all swallered up by deer season?

        • Trac

          Hahaha. Just messing with you Bill.

          • BillW

            I know. Thanks for noticing me!

    • http://www.upitpuppet.com/ evantonio

      i’m still pissed we traded him for heyward.

  • BearDown100393

    IMHO this week’s practice mantra for the offense should be “do not turnover the football”. The Green Bay Packers defense is no juggernaut. It is porous. Do not make it believe it is anything spectacular on Sunday. Turnovers are a killer for this Bears team. Not just in points allowed but in how the team reacts afterward. The offense cannot add more stress to this year’s defense by giving up the football. Yes, I am aware this is nothing new or fancy.However the Bears offense was remarkably clean and efficient against the Falcons in Atlanta. A similar execution of that game plan in Green Bay would do wonders for increasing the probability of winning this football game.

    • Trac

      I predict a fake FG on 1st down will be on Trestmans playlist Sunday night. No way the cheese would be ready for that.

      • BillW

        Why did give it away then? A

      • TheBigCheesy

        You’re right. If any other coach lined up for a FG on 1st or 2nd down, the Packers would assume they’re faking it. But givenTrestman’s history, they’d have to be wary that he actually kicks it!

    • BillW

      “do not turnover the football”. Yes, that’s the simplest and yet most effective goal there can be.

  • Brandy Baby

    “..why wouldn’t the Bears do this? Kyle Fuller is the Bears best cover corner. Jordy Nelson is the Packers best receiver and Rodgers’ favorite target. ”

    Cobb has three more TDs than Nelson. Pick your poison. Marshall and Jeffrey ? 27th in the league, with Marshall lucky if he breaks 80 receptions this year.

    • Trac

      Yes, they should put Marshall and Jeffrey on Cobb and Nelson. Brilliant strategy!

    • http://www.dabearsbeat.com/ Johnathan Wood

      yes, Cobb has more TDs.

      But Jordy has more targets, catches, and yards, which is why he’s their #1 WR and the main guy you need to worry about slowing down.

      • BerwynBomber

        Their rookie, Adams(?), is also building up a rapport with Rodgers last I looked. They don’t seem to target their TE much, though.

  • Peanut FTW

    One interesting stat in looking at team numbers is that teams with a lot of penalties seem to be fine. The Pats and Steelers have a ton of them, the Pats lead the league. And yet it has done little to slow their overall productivity. Teams with the fewest penalties seem to do pretty poorly. It looks like the best way to win is to play man to man, play your game and if they flag you; they flag you.

    • BillW

      That’s a good find – counter intuitive. Maybe it’s as you say – playing aggressive pays off over all and worth the risk of penalties.

      I used to tell my son when he was playing (grade school) basketball – if you don’t pick up a few fouls then you’re not playing hard enough.

  • Peanut FTW

    How does Moses make his tea?

    Hebrews it.

  • Donnnnn’t Caaaaarrrrrre!

    You gotta believe boys. I’m heading out. I’ll see you on the beach.

    • Trac

      Ha, I believe!

  • johnnywad

    So Mills is staying at RT and Ola moves to right guard. Mills must have struggled at the guard positin in practice. We’ll be drafting another OL early next year.

    • GPLDAN

      Opposite down hand opposite footwork and tackle from guard is harder than guard to tackle

      Ola was a great pickup in how well he knows all positions

      • GPLDAN

        Rosario probably spends most if the game chipping Peppers off Mills

      • Trac

        Yup, you always gotta watch what the other hand does. I remember after being a righty my whole life and being absolutely amazed when I knocked a fool stone cold flat out with my left fist when I got jumped at a party one night. I think just having graduated from Marine Corp boot camp had a lot to do with it.

        I don’t know if this story has any bearing on your comments but most of my posts don’t so I figured what the heck. Hahaha.

    • Barb UMihai Mar

      Shiiit. I was talking about it yesterday. Mills at G seemed risky and cute and that’s always the losing solution in time of crisis.

  • GPLDAN

    Trestman can’t mismanage the clock. From that pass where Clinton Dix stopped Unicorn for the td at the half of first game, this team lost it’s mojo

    But if you watch that drive again they seriously mismanaged the clock that drive

    • johnnywad

      He hasn’t shown he can do otherwise yet. I can’t figure the guy out. He’s obviously smart. But he does the easy, stupid shit wrong. Doesn’t make sense.

  • GPLDAN

    Forget my Cryptkepper moniker.

    Little Danny Bernstein and his sycophant stooge Terry have deemed Trestman “Dr. Death”. Saying that with Kervorkian gone, he’s Dr. Death. He killed the Bears.

    Have I mentioned the media in this town is way down on this team?

    • Trac

      So am I.

  • Trac

    Trac’s forward indicators.

    1. A competitive game has to be an improvement doesn’t it? However, a win is a requirement for the Bears to prove tangible progress.

    2. Remember when the Packers lent Halas money? If the Packers have a heart, they will lose to the Bears.

    3. Navy seals cling to rocks for warmth on beaches in order to avoid hyperthermia while on cold sea operations. In the same way, when Cutler drops back to pass, he needs to cling to the rock like his life depends on it.

    Go Bears!

  • Barb UMihai Mar

    Sacks are more important than pressures, hurries and hits, but are indeed an overrated statistic.

    Just see things like this: JJ Watt has less than 1 sack a game. That’s wouldn’t scare me as a QB or OC. The pressures instead are what makes you shit your pants. Knowing he’s always and constantly just 1 step away from a big hit. It makes you change your game plan and rushing your every throw.

    Last year he had 11 sack and 85 pressures.

    -If you have 4 JJ Watts on your DLine you’d have 44 sacks. That’s 3 sacks a game. That’s 3 hits a game and around 20 yards lost.
    3 snaps a game is not that mush if the Offense has 40 passing attempts. It’s 8 %. What happens on the other 92 % of passing snaps ?

    – If you have 4 JJ Watts on your DLine you’d have 340 pressures. That’s 21 pressures a game. 21 pressures a game if the Offense has 40 passing attempts means 50 % of the passing snaps are influenced or not ideal.

    I see it like this: sack influence negatively your opponent. Pressures influence positively your teammates.

    PS: The most important statistic aren’t the total sacks or the disruptions. The true valuable statistic is % of sacks/disruptions per pass rush attempt and how fast they occur.

    • Trac

      Just win baby!

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