Pro football

'Disgusted' Bears must protect football, control big-play QB Drew Brees

2013-10-05T17:30:00Z 2013-12-18T18:52:10Z 'Disgusted' Bears must protect football, control big-play QB Drew BreesAl Hamnik al.hamnik@nwi.com, (219) 933-4154 nwitimes.com
October 05, 2013 5:30 pm  • 

CHICAGO | When the Saints come marching into Soldier Field today, they plan to use the Bears for a welcome mat.

Wipe, smudge, wipe, smudge.

The averages are in the visitors' favor.

Since Sean Payton became the New Orlean Saints' head coach in 2006, they have averaged 28.1 points a game in the regular season -- second best in the NFL.

And since 2006, Payton's offense has averaged a league best 403.1 yards per game.

Quarterback Drew Brees, since joining the Saints in 2006, has passed for 4,000 or more yards in each of his seven seasons.

Now come the Bears, who play host to Brees & Company and are giving up an embarrassing 28.5 ppg. despite leading the NFL with 14 takeaways.

It took Lance Briggs and his teammates a while to cool off after losing 40-32 in Detroit last Sunday.

"To me, it's disgusting to see 40 points on the scoreboard, regardless of how it got up there," the Bears' linebacker said. "We have to be more disciplined and fundamentally sound, just like in training camp."

It may be the only way to slow down the Saints.

"Just getting more guys to the ball and being a good tackling defense." added defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. "These things can be fixed because there's no time limit."

Quarterback Jay Cutler can't afford another four-turnover day against a Saints' team that prides itself in taking care of the football.

That all starts with Brees, who has thrown for 1,434 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions, but has yet to win at Soldier Field.

"The New Orleans Saints are good enough. We don't have to give them extra chances to score," Cutler said. "They put up enough points."

While Cutler has Brandon Marshall as his go-to receiver, Brees has 6-foot-7 tight end Jimmy Graham plus a nice 1-2 punch in the backfield with scrappy Darren Sproles and T.F. South grad Pierre Thomas.

"I don't think you can rattle (Brees) at all," said Bears' cornerback Tim Jennings. "I just have to make plays if he comes my way.

"You got to have all 11 guys to the ball. It can't be one-on-one. You saw that last week (at Detroit)."

Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer was on the Saints' staff last year, but was quick to note it gives his new employer no big advantage.

This is football, mister, not SpyGate.

"Everything about their offense you can see on tape," Kromer said. "They try to out-technique, out-play and out-precision you.

"You watch them over the years and you know what they're going to do."

Brees wasn't buying this spy theory, either.

"I guess technically (Kromer) could take last year's playbook and give it to them and they could have all our terminology and everything else," Brees said at his weekly conference call.

"But it doesn't mean they know at what time we're running those plays."

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