10 Bears question marks as they prep for Cardinals

SHARE 10 Bears question marks as they prep for Cardinals

Bears running back Matt Forte knows rushing against the Cardinals will be a challenge. (AP)

Three years ago, Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell encouraged Bears outside linebacker Sam Acho to talk to Ngozi Ebechi, the woman he’d eventually marry.

When Acho did, on March 15, 2014, Campbell was a groomsman.

“Tallest groomsman ever,” Acho said.

While we wonder where 6-8, 300-pounder rents a tux — he has to buy one, right? — we present 10 Bears question marks for Week 2:

1. Can the Bears run the ball?

The Cardinals, who allowed a league-low 54 rushing yards last week, use safety Deone Bucannon as something akin to a middle linebacker on run downs.

“They have basically a safety down there playing linebacker, and he’s a lot more athletic than some linemen are,” running back Matt Forte said. “They have a lot of different blitzes. Penetration kills run games.”

2. How familiar are the Bears with the Cardinals?

Very. Eight Bears coaches faced Arizona last season on staffs of the Broncos, 49ers and Falcons, combining for a 3-1 record.

“The good thing is, we played them last year,” said offensive coordinator Adam Gase, whose Broncos won, 41-20. “So at least I’m familiar with the fact that they bring about everything you can possible ask for.

3. Did the Bears pick Harold Jones-Quartey’s brain?

Of course. The rookie safety spent all preseason with the Cardinals.

“I’m a Bear — I’m not a Cardinal no more,” said Jones-Quartey, claimed after cutdown day. “They’re paying my bills. So whatever it takes to win, I got it.”

4. Who will sing the LSU fight song Sunday?

LSU has a league-high 41 alums playing in the NFL. No one can top the Bears and Cardinals, who have three ex-Tigers apiece.

The Bears claim Ego Ferguson, Lamin Barrow and Lavar Edwards, while the Cardinals boast Kevin Minter and stars Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu.

“They do a good job of recruiting players out of high school — and they do a good job of developing them,” said Edwards, a defensive lineman signed Tuesday.

5. Why do the Bears have a more strenuous Saturday practice than most?

“Really, it’s just science behind it,” coach John Fox said. “People used to shut it down on Saturdays. They’re saying now, getting a sweat or getting a lather on the day before you compete is actually a positive thing. It helps you sleep. It helps calm the nerves some.”

Share Events on The Cube6. How did Peterson improve this offseason?

Gone are the bags of candy in his locker, as well as seven pounds, after the Cardinals cornerback discovered Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis last year.

“He now has his blood sugar totally under control,” coach Bruce Arians said. “He’s as light as he’s been in a while.”

7. Is Larry Fitzgerald overrated?

Not if you ask Bears cornerback Alan Ball.

“I have so much respect for him and how he’s changed with the game as the game’s went on,” Ball said of 12-year veteran, whose 784 receiving yards last year were the fewest since his rookie year. “His experience jumps through the film when you watch him, in terms of what he’s doing and how he creates space and how he’s finding open areas.”

8. Wait, Carson Palmer’s better than Aaron Rodgers?

Probably not. But still, “Carson does things that honestly can be more frustrating than Aaron,” outside linebacker Jared Allen said.

9. Who’s house is this?

The Bears are 37-11-5 at home all-time against the Cardinals, who played in Chicago from 1920-59. That doesn’t count “road” games at Wrigley Field when the two shared it from 1930-37, or home games the Cardinals played at Soldier Field.

10. Is ‘Butthead’ back?

Punter Drew Butler will play his first-ever regular-season game Sunday against the team he dad Kevin kicked for from 1985-95. Drew, a punter, spent time with the Bears last preseason before the team drafted Pat O’Donnell.

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

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