Big plays there if Bears can beat the blitz
The Bears expect offensive opportunities when the New York Jets bring their zero blitz packages (seven pass rushers and just four in coverage), but they'll have very little time to take advantage of them.
"There's always going to be big-play ability when you leave the middle of the field open," coach Marc Trestman said. "When people bring those kinds of blitzes they know that. But you still have to pick 'em up. They're going to bring one more (than you can block). You've got to find a way to make sure you can get the quarterback to get the ball out of his hand and still get something positive out of it.
"It's really a fun challenge. Everybody's involved in picking things up; whether it's route-running, change of plays, change of protections, line calls and communication, We've got to do it in the noise as well."
The Jets will also frequently show blitz looks and back out of it trying to confuse the offense.
"They'll show it, and then they'll drop people out," Trestman said. "And they'll show it and bring it. They'll show it and play different kind of coverages behind it. They're very, very good at mixing it up and not tipping what they're going to do prior to the snap."
Standing by his man:
The relationship between quarterback Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall goes all the way back to 2006, when they were drafted by the Denver Broncos -- Cutler in the first round, Marshall in the fourth.
It hasn't always been smooth sailing, but Marshall has never had less than 1,265 yards or 100 catches in any season when Cutler was his quarterback, and their off-the-field bond has become just as strong. Cutler says there's an easy explanation for why they clicked early on.
"I knew the guy," Cutler said. "Anybody that knows Brandon knows that there's a good person there. A lot of people make mistakes, and Brandon would be the first one to tell you he made a long laundry list of mistakes. But he's making up for it now, and I think anybody in that locker room would be proud to say that, one, he's their teammate, and two, he's a friend."
With loquacious tight end Martellus Bennett, opinionated wide receiver Brandon Marshall and hyperactive guard Kyle Long the Bears' offensive huddle can sound like the Tower of Babble. Quarterback Jay Cutler has to make sure everyone's speaking the same language.
"Jay's very good at dealing with personalities and very good with dealing with all the A.D.D. kids in his huddle," Long laughed. "Including myself; I think it's A.D.H.D. with mine. He gets us focused. We tighten the huddle up and it's all business, definitely."
Cutler says it's about knowing what to listen to and what to ignore.
"They know that when I get in the huddle it's business," Cutler said. "Let's listen to who we have to listen to and move on.
"With these Monday night games, Sunday night games, there are so many commercial timeouts that there's a lot of milling around. That's when a lot of the talking is done with these guys; ideas are thrown up against the board, they're telling me things they want me to relay to coaches. You've just got to pick what you want to listen to and what you just shake your head to and say, 'Yeah, I hear ya.' "
Ground and pound:
The Jets are No. 1 in the NFL in rushing yards and No. 5 in average gain per rush behind the dual threat of speedy Chris Johnson and 6-foot, 222-pound Chris Ivory, who's averaging 6.3 yards per carry (145 yards on 23 attempts).
Johnson rushed for 2,006 yards in 2009 with the Tennessee Titans, and he has never rushed for fewer than 1,047 in any of his previous six seasons. But last season, when he rushed fr 1,077 yards, Johnson averaged a career-low 3.9 yards per carry. He's averaging 3.6 yards (89 yards, 25 carries)
"These guys take pride in running the football," Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. "They've got a number of really good players that they can give the ball to and get production in the run game. They have a very physical offensive line, a hard-nosed, ground-and-pound type of mentality."
"We have to know which back is in the game and set an edge and build a wall inside. They apply pressure to you with all of their run schemes. They also have the read-option available to them."
Jets quarterback Geno Smith has run 17 times for 64 yards, averaging 3.8 yards per attempt.