Dr. Z's Positional Breakdown

Wednesday January 31st, 2007

Dr. Z's Positional Breakdown
How the Colts and Bears match up for Super Bowl XL

Robert Mathis(98)
Relentless, and at 6-2, 245, he'd better be. You won't find a smaller pair in the league than he and 6-1, 268-pound Dwight Freeney. Josh Thomas (91) completes the three-man rotation.
Adewale Ogunleye (93)
Active pass rusher who seems to play in streaks. But relieving on either side is, I kid you not, one of the league's most feared pass rushers, rookie Mark Anderson (97), a gifted 255-pounder with 12 sacks in limited action.
Anthony McFarland(92)
They imported him from Bucs to be a big guy up front, but he's more of a "move" tackle. Plays hard, though, and has helped firm up the run defense. Darrell Reid (95) is third man in the rotation. Little Dan Klecko(61) is the occasional fourth.
Ian Scott(95)
Plays the nose in the base. Good, firm, two-gapper. Israel Idonije (71), an effective speed rusher at 270, comes in the nickel.
Raheem Brock (79)
At 274, got overrun when the defense struggled vs. the run. Now that it has firmed up, he makes hustle plays.
Tank Johnson (99)
Plays the gap in the three-technique and is the leading disrupter and pocket collapser inside. Will tire more quickly now that Tommie Harris is gone.
Dwight Freeney(93)
Sacks were way down this year, and for a while it was feared that they had his number, but he has made a late season comeback. Gets his inside rush via spin move, and no one is better at it.
Alex Brown(96)
Has a good, well rounded game. Steady pass rusher who needs constant attention, also leading tackler among the D-lineman, by a wide margin.
Rob Morris (94)
An inspiring story. Failed as the MLB, distinguished himself for two years on special teams, without complaint, then, in a coaching brainstorm, was resurrected late in the season to play the SAM and beef up the defense vs. the run. It worked.
Hunter Hillenmeyer (92)
Good, active plugger but might not get the start. Bears opened in a nickel vs. Saints and might do so against Indy.
Gary Brackett (58)
Did a decent job holding the fort when everybody was running on the Colts. Breathing easier now and playing a good, functional, technically correct game.
Brian Urlacher (54)
Tremendous speed getting into his coverage, and might wind up on a running back or TE or WR. Great range, obviously. Still a bit soft at the point.
Cato June (59)
Had one of the really awful games of his career when the Jags ran for 375 yards, and someone must have sat him down for a long, serious talk because he's reacting and tackling better now.
Lance Briggs (55)
A fine career in the making has reached fruition this season. Sound in all aspects of the game. A well-deserved Pro Bowl starter.
Nick Harper(25)
Good, tough cover guy, but twisted an ankle in the first quarter vs. Patriots and the position was split between Kelvin Hayden (26) and the regular nickel back Marlin Jackson (28).
Charles Tillman(33)
Fearless at one time, plays it more cautiously now. Everybody seems to go after him, maybe because they're not eager to mess with Vasher on the other side.
Bob Sanders(21)
Energetic little fireball who doesn't miss many tackles and gets a terrific jump on his reads. His return from injury helped turn defense around.
Chris Harris(46)
Former free safety. Thrown into the mix to replace Todd Johnson (35) after Mike Brown was lost. Likes to force fumbles.
Antoine Bethea(41)
Looked bad when the defense was bad, looks better now that it has come around. At his best when forcing the run or crowding the box.
Danieal Manning(38)
Top draft rookie (second round). Opportunistic, still learning. Replaced Harris in third game, and has started ever since.
Jason David(42)
Everybody's pigeon last year. Has improved this season and will challenge receivers.
Nathan Vasher(31)
Very sound, fundamentally. Can bump or play zone coverage. Has had some big games.
Nickel/Dime Packages
Marlin Jackson (28), young and active, is the nickel. Kelvin Hayden's (26) the dime. Held up OK when they were called to share the RCB vs. New England.
Nickel/Dime Packages
Ricky Manning, Jr. (24) is an amazing ballhawk whose five picks shares the club lead. Greatly improved since his Carolina days. Todd Johnson (35) is the fourth back.
TOTAL: Bears 8-2-2.

Dr. Z's Breakdowns: Offense | Special Teams

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