We’re a little more than 24 hours from kickoff. The Chicago Bears come to town to try and make the Carolina Panthers go 0-5 for the first time ever. Can Carolina’s defense play with the same tenacity as it did last week? Will Carolina’s offense improve on the better performance it turned in a week ago? Those questions probably won’t be answered — not directly — here, but Sunday will be the tell-all of what’s what and who wins and who loses. Will the Panthers go 0-5 for the first time in franchise history? If they do, might this spell the end of John Fox’s career as Panthers head coach, going into a much needed Bye Week?
Welcome to another installment of “Through the Enemy’s Eyes: Chicago Bears” edition. Today Bears Headquarters blogger Jonathan Carroll and I got together to preview each other’s respective teams in a series which is actually tied with an overall record of 2-2 during regular season match-ups. If you want to get picky, Carolina owns the Bears with a 1-0 record in the playoffs.
As you’re probably quite familiar with how this goes by now, I submit five questions plus a “freebie,” and our opposing blogger does the same for me.
Cat Crave: How confident are you in the Bears starting quarterback Todd Collins?
Jonathan Carroll: Not at all…but Mike Martz has proven he can get things out of quarterbacks whom people have little faith in. Caleb Hanie may still play if Collins is ineffective, but as of now, I’m not very confident. Chicago Bears GM last season failed to address the back-up running back position, and the results were disastrous. An issue I have with Lovie Smith and company was that they allowed rookie Dan LeFevour to take most of the snaps during the preseason, and released him at the end of training camp. While Hanie got hurt in the first game, the Chicago Bears needed to get a quarterback ready and not spend the whole preseason getting LeFevour ready for the Cincinnati Bengals.
CC: After allowing nine sacks to the New York Giants, how effective can the Bears offensive line be at protecting Collins?
JC: Don’t take this the wrong way, but I am not as concerned about the Panthers defensive line. I think there were two factors going against the Chicago Bears last Sunday evening. One was that Jay Cutler did have time on at least two of those sacks, but I believe he may have suffered the concussion earlier in the game based on some reports that are coming out. The other is that the Giants were playing so poorly that something had to give. It was the Chicago Bears (that gave). So, with that being said, the Panthers will probably have 15 sacks. The Bears are going to keep it simple with short passes and attempt to run the ball…get ready for some extremely boring football.
CC: Which tackle do you think the Bears will line Julius Peppers up against, RT Geoff Schwartz or LT Jordan Gross? How effective will Pep be against either?
JC: Julius Peppers is a man-child. As you know, he can dominate anywhere on the field. Peppers is usually on the right side, but they have been moving him around to create more opportunities.
CC: How dominating will the Bears special teams — specifically return game — be?
JC: Devin Hester finally showed us his old form. Danieal Manning may suck-suck-suck as a safety, but he is a good return man. Johnny Knox reminds me of a young Steve Smith. So the Chicago Bears have three really strong returners. If Carolina kicks to Hester, the Chicago Bears may find a way to get something out of that situation.
CC: What is one area of concern about the Panthers that the Bears need to focus on?
JC: The obvious answer is your pass rush. Based on last Sunday, the Bears couldn’t block anyone. The Panthers have two good running backs. If Carolina can run the ball, this will be ugly for Chicago. But I am guessing there will be Bears in the backfield all game especially with Jimmy Clausen at QB.
CC: Anything else you would like to add?
JC: Many of us in Chicago were nervous about the news before Cutler was ruled out, and now panic has reached the streets. Based on last Sunday and no Cutler, the Chicago Bears may play with a little something to prove. But with this team, anything can happen.
As always, we appreciate bloggers of opposing teams who offer their opinions of what they see about our Panthers going into a game. Once again, I would like to thank Jonathan for joining us this week in our latest installment. Please visit Bears Headquarters to get my take on what Carolina must do to try and earn its first win of the season.
Follow Cat Crave on Twitter, @THECatCrave.
Tags: Bears Headquarters Bears HQ Bearsheadquarters.com Bearshq.com Caleb Hanie Carolina Panthers Carolina Panthers Vs Chicago Bears Prediction Chicago Bears Dan LeFevour Devin Hester Geoff Schwartz Jay Cutler Jimmy Clausen John Fox Johnny Knox Jordan Gross Julius Peppers Lovie Smith Mike Martz NFL Preview Todd Collins Week Five