Bears know who has stung them most: Packers’ D-coordinator
BY MARK POTASH email@example.com December 15, 2012 5:26PM
Packers defensive backs Tramon Williams (right) and Charles Woodson (left) shut down Brandon Marshall in Week 2. | Morry Gash~AP
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Updated: December 15, 2012 6:05PM
Brandon Marshall was so determined to avoid giving Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams any credit for shutting him down in Week 2 that — perhaps inadvertently — he put the spotlight on the biggest difference between the Bears and Packers in the Jay Cutler era.
‘‘Dom Capers,’’ Marshall said when asked what the Packers did to limit him to two catches for 24 yards in the Bears’ 23-10 loss to the Packers on Sept. 13 at Lambeau Field. ‘‘Coach Capers is their MVP. . . . Coach Capers did an amazing job of game-planning us and game-planning me.’’
Capers, the Packers’ defensive coordinator, came up often this week — unsolicited references from not only Marshall and Cutler but Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice.
‘‘Dom does a good job of getting those guys prepared,’’ Cutler said, ‘‘and showing different looks and taking away things offenses are good at.’’
‘‘It’s a privilege and an honor to go up against him,’’ Bears quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates said. ‘‘You always want to go against the best, and we have an opportunity to do that.’’
Though Marshall’s anti-Packer rant could not be beaten this week for entertainment value, coach Lovie Smith’s response to a question about his future with the Bears was more salient.
‘‘Why in the world would we be talking about a contract with Green Bay Week here?’’ Smith asked. ‘‘I’m excited about playing the Packers. We need to. They’ve had our number for a while.’’
Whether or not it’s too soon for the question, the timing of the answer couldn’t have been more perfect. If Smith wants questions about his future to go away, outfoxing Capers and beating the Packers would be a huge first step.
Since then-general manager Jerry Angelo acquired Cutler and Packers coach Mike McCarthy hired Capers in 2009, the Bears are 1-7 against the Packers. In Cutler’s seven games against Capers, he has been sacked 26 times overall by 15 players from nine different positions.
Clay Matthews has six sacks. But Erik Walden has 3 1/2; Jarius Wynn has 2 1/2, and D.J. Smith, Mike Daniels, Jerel Worthy, Jarrett Bush, Frank Zombo and Brandon Chillar have one. All but Matthews are reserves.
Cutler’s rating against Capers is 53.1, lowest of quarterbacks with 100 or more attempts, behind Drew Brees (110.7), Eli Manning (95.4), Brett Favre (89.9) and Matt Stafford (68.4).
Maybe it’s Cutler who should be taking it personally. The Packers have sacked him 26 times in 231 drop-backs (one sack per 8.9 drop-backs). They’ve sacked Stafford 10 times in 244 (1:24), Manning four times in 110 (1:28) and Favre twice in 130 (1:65). Cutler’s subs with the Bears — Caleb Hanie, Josh McCown and Todd Collins — have not been sacked by the Packers in 61 drop-backs. Hmmm.
So by now, Cutler should be ready for anything. Is he?
‘‘I don’t think they’re going to reinvent the defense over there. They’re not going to do something we’ve never seen before,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘We just have to be on it and go through our rules with what we have to do and just make plays.’’