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Thread: So how do you beat Da Bears?
So how do you beat Da Bears?
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Growing up in Sunnyside, Wash., Scott Linehan had the same routine every Monday during football season.
He'd go to the Sunnyside High junior varsity game with his father, who had to be there as high school principal. Young Scott would watch the first half of the JV game and then run home for "Monday Night Football."
"It was the only thing I liked about Mondays when I was growing up," Linehan said. "So I grew up with it like everybody here. It is special to be on it, it really is. It's not just another game."
Tonight marks Linehan's first Monday night game as an NFL head coach, with his Rams (5-7) playing host to Chicago (10-2) at the Edward Jones Dome. Whether anything "special" occurs for the Rams tonight remains to be seen.
They have lost six of their last seven games. They are beaten up in the secondary and offensive line, with right tackle Alex Barron (knee) joining the list of the walking wounded.
They remain on track to be the worst run defense in franchise history. Their starting quarterback is on pace to be sacked more than anyone else in franchise history.
That quarterback, Marc Bulger, questioned the commitment, preparation and focus of some unnamed offensive teammates in eye-opening comments after last week's loss to Arizona.
One of their rookie tight ends, Dominique Byrd, was allegedly involved in a late-night fracas last week at a club in downtown St. Louis.
Other than all that, things are just swell these days at Rams Park.
In terms of impact on the team, Byrd's scrape with the law is inconsequential. He has been a non-factor this season. Bulger's comments, however, are another matter.
Will the Rams respond to Bulger's comments with intensity, focus and minimal mistakes tonight against the new Monsters of the Midway?
Or will we see another example of the Same Old Sloppy (bleep) Rams?
As wide receiver Torry Holt put it bluntly: "We'll either get embarrassed, or we'll do some embarrassing."
To avoid falling into the "embarrassed" category, the Rams have one simple yet difficult task: make the Bears' offense, specifically struggling quarterback Rex Grossman, beat them.
Not the Bears' special teams unit, which has accounted for four TDs, all by return whiz Devin Hester.
Not the Bears' second-ranked defense, which has a league-high 39 takeaways and has scored three touchdowns.
Under coach Lovie Smith, the former Rams defensive coordinator, the Bears are known as a Cover 2 team, playing both safeties deep in zone coverage. That's the basic scheme Smith brought from Tampa Bay to St. Louis five years ago. But it's not really how the Bears play defense.
Sure, the Bears play Cover 2 on passing downs. But on running downs, they like to bring an eighth defender into the box and play man coverage on the outside.
"We like the matchups outside," Bulger said. "But they do have really good corners, and they have a great front seven. So it's going to be tough to move the ball, but we're going to see where we're at."
The key for St. Louis is gaining consistent yardage on first down. Otherwise, the Rams are playing right into the Bears' ball-hawking hands.
"You've got to be smart with what you do," Linehan said. "They can wreck the game pretty fast if you get careless or greedy. If you're in long yardage (situations) all day against them, good luck."
On the other side of the ball, it's no state secret what the Bears are planning against the beleaguered Rams defense.
"They're going to run the ball," defensive end Leonard Little said. "They're not going to pass the ball. Those guys are going to run the ball as much as possible. I know Lovie has got the mind frame of doing that. I think they're going to run the ball 40 or 50 times because he knows that's our weakness and he's going to attack that."
If the Rams hold up against the run ... if they keep Hester from running wild on returns ... if they take care of the football, it could be an interesting night. In trying to regroup after the Arizona embarrassment, Linehan has emphasized a fresh start. Tonight marks the start of a four-game season. If the Rams sweep those four, they're probably in the playoffs.
"It's amazing we're only one game out of it somehow," Bulger said.
"It's crazy, man," Holt said. "It's really hilarious. It just shows you the parity in the NFC. ... These last four games, some teams are going to spoil some teams' hopes. And some teams are going to play at a high level to get themselves in position for the playoffs. So it'll be very interesting to see how this hilarious NFC conference finishes out."
Hilarious? Perhaps. But right now, few Rams fans are laughing.
Re: So how do you beat Da Bears?
"You beat the Bears like Ed Ginaro would beat the Bears; you rip their @#$** heads off and @#$% down their necks; Let us pray."JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS
"HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"Adm. William "Bull" Halsey
-12-11-2006 #3BigGameMN Guest
Re: So how do you beat Da Bears?
Linehan must unleash the offense. Try to get up early and put pressure on Grossman. I think we have the 9th ranked passing defense in the league and the 31st ranked rushing defense, let's try to make the bears play into that. Both of the Bears starting CB's are out, as well as their safety. So let's go down the field, let it all hang out, and get a W.