When the Bears Throw the Ball:
This is why Trestman was brought in. To bring his fast-paced, high-powered passing offense to the Windy City, and he has the weapons in Chicago to implement it: 2 big WRs (Marshall and Jeffrey), a dual threat RB (Forte), a big pass catching TE (Bennett) and a big-armed “gun-slinging” QB (Cutler). The problem with Cutler (and all QBs with that “gun-slinger” mentality – see Favre), is he throws a lot of picks (63 in his 5 years with the Bears).
The Bears organization hopes Trestman can bring the ‘Trestman Effect’ to Cutler, and teach him how to harness his arm and become a more efficient QB. It starts with the Bears offensive line and their ability to protect Cutler, something they were not able to do in year’s past. The Bears will be starting 4 new players on the OL in 2013, and while I think this group will be better than previous years, they still have to gel as a unit, and the right side (RG Long and RT Mills), are both rookies.
This presents a dangerous situation for Cutler and the when your first game is against a defense that tied for 3rd in the NFL with 51 sacks in 2012 and now has added James Harrison. The Bengals secondary is good, but they have a big question mark at strong safety and no single CB able to shut down Marshall, especially if Cutler has a lot of time to throw the ball.
The key will be the Bengals ability to get to Cutler and make him uncomfortable. If the Bengals can’t get to Cutler, he and Marshall could have a big game on Sunday.
When the Bengals Run the Ball:
The Bears had the 8th ranked rushing defense in 2012, and though they lost the name Urlacher, they gained youth and athleticism and should actually be better in 2013. The Bengals, under Gruden, have struggled finding a consistent running attack (18th in 2012) and will be missing their Pro Bowl LT. While Collins is a good backup, he is a backup for a reason. BJGE provides a solid starter and a great short yard back, but he doesn’t provide much in the passing game and has little big play potential.
That is why the Bengals took Giovanni Bernard high in the 2nd round and so far, Bernard looks the part. Incredibly fast and quick, great hands, great feet and extremely exciting to watch. However, he is still a rookie and until I see Gruden show me that he knows how to use BJGE and Bernard, I have to give the Bears the edge in this category.