8:45 AM CST, December 9, 2013
Marc Trestman made a bad decision at the end of last week’s loss in Minnesota, and it would appear he’s continuing his run of bad choices to start Monday night’s game against the Cowboys.
According to the depth chart in My Chicago Tribune, Shea McClellin is the starting left defensive end.
I’m going to presume the Cowboys know that McClellin is a McDriv-Thru against the run. I know the Cowboys can be stubborn and stupid, but I’m going to give them that.
Next, it’s going to be cold. Real cold. Perhaps the coldest game in Cowboys history, including the “Ice Bowl’’ in 1967.
Throwing and catching passes in single-digit wind chills is stupid because it’s difficult. It’s hard to get a grip to throw it and it hurts to try to catch it.
So the smart thing to do is run the ball, and the smartest thing in the entire NFL is to run the ball against the Bears.
That's another thing about running the ball in single-digit wind chills. It hurts to try to tackle, especially when you start out so physically ill-equipped at the point of attack the way the lightweight McClellin does.
The numbers say the Cowboys want to pass first and pass a lot. They rank a so-so 15th in the league with 243.3 average passing yards per game.
The numbers say the Cowboys can’t run the ball. But DeMarco Murray’s numbers say they can.
While the Cowboys rank 27thwith 85.1 rushing yards per game, Murray averages almost 5 yards a carry. The Bears give up almost 5 yards a carry. Bingo. We have a winner. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a game plan.
And that run-heavy game plan would start with McClellin the way every opponent’s run-heavy game plan does.
The Bears have given up at least 200 rushing yards in each of the last two games and more than 500 yards total since McClellin has returned from injury. In the two games he missed, the Bears at least held opponents under 200 yards.
I know. It’s a stupid barometer, but the Bears’ continuing inability to stop the run is stupid, too.
But it’s a fact and it’s a strategy. Smart NFL teams find a weakness and drill it until you prove you can stop it. The Bears haven’t shown they can stop the run.
They could change some of that tonight if defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff is healthy enough to give the Bears a game, not just 23 snaps. If Ratliff and Stephen Paea can avoid injury in the middle, then Corey Wooton can move back to his left defensive end spot and get the majority of snaps.
That would allow the Bears to use McClellin only in obvious passing downs like the pass-rushing gimmick that he is.
But that’s not the way my starting depth chart reads. Pity.
I know it’s not necessarily who starts but who finishes and who plays the most, but Trestman is giving the Cowboys an opportunity to make his Bears look dumber than Jerry Jones’ face.
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