Even though they had a surprisingly easy time dispatching the Falcons in Week 1, the Chicago Bears weren't satisfied with their overall performance.
And they realize they may have a more difficult assignment this week against another NFC South powerhouse when they take on the Saints in New Orleans.
"That's the way you want to start it off," coach Lovie Smith said of the 30-12 victory. "(But) we're still looking at video, and we're seeing a lot of mistakes. A lot of opportunities we let slip by.
"You're supposed to win at home, especially with your crowd into the football game the way ours was. We have a big test coming up on the road."
A Bears offensive line that is still in the formative stage allowed Jay Cutler to be sacked five times while throwing for 312 yards against the Falcons.
C Roberto Garza
Dennis Wierzbicki/US Presswire
"We did a good job, but obviously Jay got hit, and we can't allow that to happen," center Roberto Garza said. "And some of those run plays, we have to stay on our guys a little bit longer and we have to create some movement. We're on track. It was a first game, and we have a long way to go. We're comfortable where we're at now, but we still have a lot of work ahead."
They may also have some tinkering in their future if Lance Louis' sprained right ankle lingers. When he departed in the second quarter, veteran Chris Spencer stepped in without any noticeable decline in performance, even though most of Spencer's training camp and preseason reps came at center, where he has spent almost all of his playing time in six previous seasons.
Since Garza spent the vast majority of his first 10 seasons at right guard, another option could have been moving him one position over and inserting Spencer at center.
"A lot of thought (was given to that)," Smith said. "That's why we were really pleased with what (Spencer) was able to do. He hasn't gotten a lot of reps at the guard position. But when your number's called ... we normally will dress seven offensive linemen, one to (back up) on the outside and one inside.
"Chris jumped right in and did a pretty good job for a guy that hasn't gotten a lot of reps. If Lance can't go this week, we'll have decisions to make. But it gives us a lot of flexibility when two of our players have played both positions."
On the outside, rookie right tackle Gabe Carimi and second-year left tackle J'Marcus Webb endured some growing pains. Webb was beaten for a sack by elite pass rusher John Abraham and called for two holding penalties.
"I know the offensive line is going to get blamed for everything that ever happens if there's a sack," Smith said. "I understand that. But there's a lot more than that. It's us getting rid of the ball quicker. It's a combination of all (things).
"We're not Super Bowl ready or anything like that. We're just getting started. Hopefully we can make a lot of progress this week."
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