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Write Now Blog

First road game provides litmus test

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 19, 2013 – 5:16 pm

Playing on the road for the first time Sunday night in Pittsburgh will provide a litmus test for a Bears offense that has allowed only one sack and not committed a pre-snap penalty in two home games.

“We’ll find out more about ourselves,” said coach Marc Trestman. “We’ve got to play in the noise. We’ve got to play in an environment that there’s going to be a great sense of urgency on both teams. It’ll be exciting. I think it will help measure us a little bit more.”

The Bears pumped noise into the Walter Payton Center during practice Wednesday and Thursday.

“We’ve done a good job at home with pre-snap penalties and now we’ve got to carry it out onto the road,” said offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer. “We’re practicing a lot with noise and trying to get used to that atmosphere, and we’ve been pretty good this week.

“The silent snap count has been worked on as well since Day 1 in the offseason and throughout training camp. It is a get-off factor and part of football is we know the snap count and they don’t, so the offense you hope can get off faster than the defense. You have to do a good job of understanding the mechanics and understanding the timing with your center, and that’s what we’ve been working on.”

It won’t be easy, but quarterback Jay Cutler is confident with how the Bears will respond to the exotic blitzes they’re expected to see from coordinator Dick LeBeau’s Steelers defense.

“They show a lot of different fronts, they show a lot of different blitzes and dogs,” Cutler said Thursday at Halas Hall. “We’ve got to be prepared for that, and ‘Krom’ and ‘Trest’ and those guys have done a great job of getting us ready for the different looks we’re going to see.

“We won’t be perfect out there. We’re going to see some stuff that maybe we mess up, but we just have to work through it, work through the crowd noise, and get to the second half in a good place for us to win the game.”


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Tucker helps offense prep to face 3-4

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 19, 2013 – 4:14 pm

With the Bears preparing to face the Steelers’ 3-4 defense Sunday night in Pittsburgh, offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer picked the brain of defensive counterpart Mel Tucker.

Tucker operated a 3-4 scheme as a defensive assistant with the Cleveland Browns.

“Definitely to use a resource like Mel is a smart thing to do and anytime I get a chance to do that I do,” Kromer said. “[I asked him], ‘What gives you headaches in a 3-4? What’s tough on you? What do you want to see in a 3-4?’ That conversation has happened, yes.”

One of the most difficult aspects of playing against a 3-4 defense is diagnosing where the pass rush is coming from. On some plays, the Steelers line up with only one player in a three-point stance. Others blitz from a variety of different spots.

“They play very stout two-gap defense on first and second down with a combination of some pressures,” Kromer said. “But then on third down [defensive coordinator] Dick LeBeau has been known for years to have a lot of tough nickel blitzes; show you one way, blitz the other way, roll a guy from the line of scrimmage down to a deep half to cover. So that’s what makes it difficult. It’s just hard to see where they’re coming from.”

With the Bears as well as their first two opponents this season employing 4-3 defenses, the Chicago offense hasn’t practiced a whole lot against a 3-4 scheme until this week.

“We just don’t see it often,” said quarterback Jay Cutler. “If you don’t see something, if you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s going to take an extra second, an extra click to really get it. But we’ve had a good week so far trying to duplicate it as best we can.”


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Tillman works on sideline during practice

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 19, 2013 – 2:40 pm

Cornerback Charles Tillman (knee) sat out individual and team drills Thursday for the second straight day, but the Bears are hopeful that he will be able to play Sunday night in Pittsburgh.

“Charles worked on the sideline with the trainers, worked actively on the sideline with trainers,” said coach Marc Trestman. “He was limited and did all the walkthroughs throughout practice.”

If Tillman is unable to play against the Steelers, Zack Bowman would likely start in his place.

“He got a lot of practice time throughout the OTAs and has always done a good job for us in that regard in backing up the corners,” Trestman said of Bowman, a sixth-year pro from Nebraska. “We’re encouraged that Charles will be ready, but Zack has had a good week of practice as well.”

Receiver Brandon Marshall missed the final portion of practice as a precaution after experiencing back tightness.

“Brandon had a very good practice and then about the middle to the late practice tightened up a little in his back,” Trestman said. “So just to be cautious we pulled him out of practice. He walked around and moved around. We’ll just be cautious and we’ll have him limited [Friday] just coming out and we’ll see where he’s at.”

Tight end Martellus Bennett (shoulder) and right guard Kyle Long (back) practiced without restrictions Thursday after being limited Wednesday.

For the Steelers, cornerback Cortez Allen (ankle) did not practice and linebacker Jarvis Jones (heel) was limited.


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