Quick Shots: Bears run defense not beyond hope
The Bears have fallen to 26th in the NFL in run defense, but they CAN stop the run.
Chicago stuffed the league’s two best backs, LaDainian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson. The Bears also stopped Dallas on the ground until the final 10 minutes and won in Green Bay by stopping Packers runners in the second half.
The Bears’ run defense looks horrible, mostly, because it gave up a team-record 311 yards to Minnesota last week. Adrian Peterson killed the Bears with 224 yards on 20 carries. But he didn’t exactly run over the Bears. More like around them just enough to win.
The 217-pound Peterson was held to minus-5 yards on 13 of his rushes and gained 229 on the other seven. The Cover-2 defense has always been known to give up a big run or two. Peterson’s speed made his big plays more frequent, and more damaging, but Chicago won’t see another back like that, until they play Minnesota again.
No reason to fear McNabb
A better-than-it-looks run defense is one reason why Chicago has a good chance to beat the Eagles today.
Another is the flip side, that Philadelphia QB Donovan McNabb is worse than he looks. Take away his perfect 158.3 rating in a 56-21 blowout of hapless Detroit, and McNabb has played like Kyle Orton. In his other four games, McNabb has averaged 5.8 yards per pass and the Eagles have scored 13, 12, 3 and 16 points.
Bears QB of the future
Donovan McNabb should never quarterback the Bears.
In 2002, the Eagles got better after he was injured, going 5-1 with A.J. Feeley and Koy Detmer at quarterback. Last year, when McNabb got hurt, Jeff Garcia took a losing team on a six-game winning streak, including a playoff win. McNabb’s not that good. Plus, he doesn’t run much anymore.
If the Bears want “to get off the plane running,” they should get a mobile quarterback.
With Michael Vick, the Falcons led the NFL in rushing the last three years; without him, they’re 21st. The Vikings ranked No. 1 and 4 in the NFL in rushing in 2002 and 2003, then fell to 27th in 2005 without Daunte Culpepper.
Chicago has ranked No. 32 (dead last), 18, 26, 8 and, now, 24, the last five years in rushing. They need a boost from a running QB.
Bears’ Babich taking heat
Don Morton bombed at Wisconsin (6-27) and Jim Wacker did the same at Minnesota (16-39) after both won NCAA Division II titles at North Dakota State. Bob Babich never won a title at NDSU and his last season there was the school’s worst in more than 40 years (2-8). And, since his successor has gone 39-11 with the Bison, Quick Shots always worried about the Bears promoting Babich to defensive coordinator.
But a call to NDSU’s longtime beat writer, Jeff Kolpak, revealed that Babich was well-liked in Fargo, N.D., and his only bad season there was after “he tried to do too much” and also be the offensive coordinator.
So, maybe Babich won’t be to Chicago’s defense what John Shoop was to the offense. Then again, he might.
Bulls should make run at Kobe
If I’m the Lakers, I’d take Ben Gordon, Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah, Ben Wallace and a future No. 1 for Kobe Bryant. They aren’t going anywhere with Bryant, anyway.
Assistant Sports Editor Matt Trowbridge’s Quick Shots on Sports appear Sundays. He can be reached at 815-987-1383 or email@example.com.