I asked the writers at Windy City Gridiron a few questions, I also answered a few of their questions, and Kev H got back to me with his answers. The following two questions are probably the most important because the Bears have no chance of winning if their offense plays as bad against the Packers as it did in the second half against the Saints.
Q: Did Mike Martz really hang Jay Cutler out to dry in the 4th quarter against the Saints?
A: Yeah, pretty much. Except it started in the third quarter. It's easy to forget that, at the start of the 3rd quarter, it was only a six point game. Some balance, and keeping the defense off the field, would have gone a long way.
There are, quite honestly, times when it seems like Mike Martz hates Jay Cutler. He seemed to get the idea that he wanted to do the same thing to the Saints that the Packers did, but instead of doing it with short drops and quick releases, he was going to do it with sub-par personnel and 80 step drops. He got away from the balance that helped them down the stretch in 2010, and even in the game against Atlanta. If the Bears are going to have much chance, Martz needs to change his play calls, and they need to keep at least some of the blitz out of the backfield.
Cutler got manhandled, and at his press conference this week, his voice was still hoarse from getting accidentally kicked in the throat, he had to honestly answer the question--he's not sure how long he can physically last with this kind of protection. That should be the message that gets to Martz--we'll see if it does.
Q: How big is the loss of Gabe Carimi?
A: It's medium-to-large sized. It's worth noting, I suppose, that the Bears sack problems didn't start until Carimi was injured, and things began to fall from there. Losing Carimi sucks for a couple of reasons. While he's young, he has been showing that he's learning and getting better. The problem is that he's losing a time to get real-life experience against top notch teams, and also because of who we have to put in while he's out. In his absence we'll be playing the guy that Bears fans have non-affectionately dubbed "Gate 68" or "The Turnstile", Frank Omiyale.
Omiyale, you'll recall, played left tackle last season when the Bears pushed former first round pick Chris Williams to guard. J'Marcus Webb, who played RT last year, shifted to LT when Carimi was brought in. The Packers would probably be wise to exploit him, as he's not only good for whiffing on blocks, but he's also pretty decent at getting false start penalties.
In short, we'll miss Gabe, but the bright side may be "at least he wasn't the left tackle."