clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ten questions for Bears as they prep for Bucs

Marc Trestman said it was dangerous to look at the Buccaneers’ record — a putrid 2-8.

“Everybody is 0-0 when we play them,” he said. “All we got to do is look at the tape and know that these guys are just like us.”

While we ponder how sad that sounds, here are 10 Bears question marks for Sunday’s game against Lovie Smith’s Bucs:

1. Should someone buy the Bears a double espresso before the game?

Probably. In their last five games, the Bears have been outscored, 41-0, in the first quarter. It gets worse: they’ve committed 12 penalties for 86 yards in the first quarters of those five games. In the other three quarters combined? Twenty for 240 yards.

“It slowed us down on both sides of the ball early on, getting off the field defensively and staying on the field and continuing drives offensively,” Trestman said. “It’s not what we want. It’s not acceptable to us. But at the same time, I appreciated the fact that our team was able to clean that up (Sunday) and move forward.”

2. Think Marc Mariani is excited about Sunday’s game?

The kick/punt returner thought might he never play again. Sunday marks his first regular season game since he suffered a compound fracture of his left tibia and fibula returning a preseason punt return in 2012. His teammates told him not to look down at the bones, but, he said, “I saw those beauties in the hospital.”

3. Why is the D-line excited about hitting Josh McCown?

“He doesn’t care about getting hit; any quarterback that comes in with that, we love that as defensive linemen,” defensive tackle Stephen Paea said. “And he doesn’t have Alshon Jeffery anymore, and Brandon Marshall. I’m happy with that.”

4. Any chance the Bears get one-on-one matchups?

Not the way they did against the Vikings, though Trestman said the Cover 2-heavy Bucs play more man defense than you’d think.

Zone means more checkdowns — and patience — for quarterback Jay Cutler.

“They’re going to keep the ball in front of them,” Cutler said.

5. Can the Bears contain another rookie rusher?

In his second-ever game Sunday, the Bucs’ Charles Sims ran 13 times for 36 yards; he could be make his first career start at Soldier Field. The Bears did fine against the Vikings’ Jerick McKinnon, allowing eight carries for 38 yards.

6. Pray for cold weather, eh?

The Buccaneers are historically horrible in the cold, but remember this: they broke a 21-game losing streak in temperatures of 40 degrees or less against the Bears. On Dec. 29, 2002, in Champaign, the Bucs bested the Bears, 15-0, in a night game that was 34 degrees at kickoff.

7. Could Matt Forte set a record Sunday?

He ran 26 times against the Vikings, one short of his career-high — set against the Buccaneers on Sept. 21, 2008, the last time the two teams met at Soldier Field.

“I don’t really take into account how many carries or whatever,” he said. “If I run 26 carries it’s a good work day, really.”

8. Tired of homecoming stories?

Jared Allen joked about it when asked this week if the Vikings game was his best this season. (He said it wasn’t).

“You like to make a big deal about guys playing their old teams,” he said. “I know it’s a fun story but …”

9. Has Jordan Mills lost his job?

Unclear. Marc Trestman wouldn’t say whether the right tackle, who has a ribs injury, would start Sunday if he’s healthy.

10. Is Mike Evans really a rookie?

“He don’t seem like a rookie out there,” cornerback Tim Jennings said of the Bucs receiver, who is 10th in the NFL with 794 receiving yards. “He wants to prove himself and he wants to be great.”

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @patrickfinley