Everything remains a work in progress, especially two key Bears in new roles this season.
This week’s “Film Study” looks at Kyle Long’s debut at right tackle, Jared Allen’s first game at outside linebacker and Jay Cutler’s fourth-quarter interception in the 31-23 loss against the Packers at Soldier Field:
A long look at Long
Long has the athleticism, smarts and willingness to succeed at right tackle. And there were good moments for Long, especially in the run game, but there were blemishes.
Long had two tough plays during the four passes for the Bears when they had 1st-and-goal from the 6. On third down, Long was beat inside by linebacker Jayrone Elliott, who pressured Jay Cutler on his rollout. On fourth down, Long stuck with linebacker Julius Peppers instead of correctly picking up a blitzer.
Long faced a few different players, but it was Mike Neal and Peppers who presented the most problems. Peppers beat Long for 1 ½ sacks on two third downs in the first quarter, which included Cutler’s overturned fumble. Neal beat Long twice on inside moves.
“On a personal level, there are too many things that went wrong in my performance to be able to give Jay time to give our offense a chance to have success,” Long said Monday.
“I had an opportunity to make a lot of mistakes yesterday. It’s a learning experience. You can take some positives from that.”
Long embraced the challenges, and there were positives. Long pulled and blocked safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on an eight-yard run by Matt Forte on third-and-3 in the second quarter. Long also was able to reach and slow tackle Mike Daniels to spring Forte on a 20-yarder.
“I can remember back in Detroit, my rookie year getting run over by Ndamukong Suh, and everybody talking about the sky is falling,” Long said. “But that’s not always the case. Because even if the sky’s falling, you can still compete. You can still play your balls off.”
Allen needs to improve
Allen’s success in the preseason and training camp didn’t carry over against left tackle David Bakhtiari, who continuously stood him up.
The Bears spent most of Sunday in their nickel defense, but Allen was in a two-point stance throughout, minus a few plays. He rushed once from the left side.
Allen’s best rush came in the second quarter on the Bears’ 8-yard line, when Bakhtiari was called for holding. He bent Bakhtiari on the play.
Allen wasn’t on the field when for two of Aaron Rodgers’ touchdown passes.
The big play by Clay
Matthews gambled on his interception. He read Cutler from the snap, ignoring his own assignment, receiver Marquess Wilson.
The film shows that Cutler keyed immediately on tight end Martellus Bennett with rookie cornerback Damarious Randall in coverage.
Matthews broke on the pass, undercutting the route and making the interception. Wilson was open.
“Maybe, [it’s] just being a little more aware of where he is as far as what side of the field we’re working to,” coach John Fox said. “Jay was right in the way he was looking at his progression. He could have made a different decision. All in all, I thought that was a heck of a play on [Matthews’] part, both to get the pick and return it.”
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