Vikings' D-line presents big challenge
Q. How does Vikings' defensive line compare to other lines the Bears have faced?
A. They're kind of specific. They have a big, physical presence in the middle with Pat Williams and Kevin Williams, and then on pass-rushing downs they have spent some money on the outside (Jared Allen) to rush the passer.
I would run at Allen as much as I could, and I would make him become a run stopper and not be a pass rusher. You can't try to push Pat Williams and Kevin Williams straight back off the line of scrimmage. You have to have some angle blocking and some different ways you're going to attack those guys to prevent them from getting into a comfort zone.
You have to make it really uncomfortable for the two guys in the middle, and I think it'll affect the whole defense.
Q. Considering their last five opponents have averaged 60.6 rushing yard per game against the Vikings, what can the Bears do to establish the run?
A. The goal is to run the ball, and they can't lose sight of that. But if you have a respected run game, you can play-action the (heck) out of these guys to get them off balance. But you still have to be determined to run the ball so play-action passes can work.
If you're talking about play-action passes, you're talking about pass-blocking those two big, strong defensive tackles instead of trying to run block them and move them out of the way. In pass-blocking you just have to sustain bodies in front of them so they don't get an immediate path to the quarterback. Plus, when they're pass rushing, you create fatigue in those guys.
Q. Last week the defense shut down the run but got hurt by the pass. What's the key to containing Adrian Peterson without giving up too many passing yards?
A. Put faster pressure on the QB. They put pressure on Matt Ryan, but it wasn't rapid enough, and he was accurate and had a great understanding of their offense.
Preparing for Gus Frerotte is different than preparing for Tarvaris Jackson. With Jackson, you have to have wider rushing lanes to contain him. When you're rushing Frerotte, you can rush more to a point in the backfield, so you have closer spacing between you and the next defender, which helps stop the run game.
Q. When you played, was there ever a week when 14 players were on the injury list as the Bears had this week?
A. It's a different era. Getting days off, that's something I'm not familiar with. I grew up in an era where you were so paranoid of losing your job that you were afraid to miss a practice. If someone was practicing in front of you, and they practiced better, then they were going to get a chance to play. Once they got a chance to play, if they played well, the likelihood of you getting your job back was minimal.
I'm a big believer in, "If I don't let someone else in my spot, I'm not going to lose my job."
Q. Was there more peer pressure to get on the field back then?
A. It's personal pride pressure; it's not peer pressure. I'm not going to go out and practice because I'm getting stink-eye from Steve McMichael. I'm going to pressure myself more than any teammate, coach or member of the organization can pressure me into being out there. I don't want to be one of those "The older you get the better you were," guys, but we never had the luxury of missing practice.
Tom Thayer answers key questions each week from Daily Herald Sports Writer Bob LeGere. Thayer's analysis also can be heard during each Bears broadcast on WBBM 780-AM.