A major storyline to Sunday night’s Vikings-Bears matchup at Soldier Field is the Vikings pass rush vs. the Bears pass protection. The Vikings are 2nd in the NFL with 16 sacks and the League’s leader in sacks is Jared Allen (8.5). The Bears, meanwhile, have allowed the 3rd-most sacks in the NFL and they’re making changes to their starting lineup.
It all adds up to a potential advantage for the Vikings, but only if they can execute properly and close the deal when they get close to QB Jay Cutler. That’s what the Detroit Lions were able to do last Monday night, as Cutler was constantly trying to evade pressure. Cutler actually played well despite the heavy pressure he saw all night, but when the offensive line can’t protect the QB consistently it’s just a matter of time before the offense finally breaks down.
Cutler and Bears Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz addressed this storyline earlier in the week, with Cutler saying the pressure makes him “uneasy” in the pocket and with Martz explaining that the Bears may utilize “quicker throws” to help Cutler get the ball out of the pocket before facing pressure.
This all means the Vikings can’t simply count on being able to pin their ears back to pressure Cutler with ease. Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier explained earlier in the week that he and the defensive staff must be ready to adjust to Chicago’s adjustments.
“We’ve gone against teams in the past that have struggled prior to us playing them and they’ve changed their blocking schemes and we’ve got to be ready to adjust to that,” Frazier said. “They’re going to do everything possible to fix some of the problems they had on Monday night and that they’ve had during the season and we’ve got to be prepared to adjust to whatever changes, if any, they make. But we need our pass rush to be working for us.”
With more quick throws possibly coming from the Bears offense, it will be important for the Vikings secondary to be sharp, especially right after the snap. If the Vikings can take away Cutler’s primary option, it may force him to hold the ball for an extra count or two, and that will give Allen, Brian Robison and the rest of the defensive line a chance to add to their sack total this season.
Tags: Brian Robison, Jared Allen, Leslie Frazier
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