Contain Michael Vick or Else

Letting Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick scramble at will on Monday will surely lead to a Bears loss. We also have matchups to watch, injury notes, game plan and more.

The Bears survived Eagles QB Michael Vick last season, winning 31-26, even though Vick threw for 333 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while completing 29 of 44 passes.

"It's real difficult for us as a secondary because he creates a lot of time for the guys to get open," cornerback Tim Jennings said. "But we believe in our pass rush, and our pass rush is going to get to him and make it easy for us in the back seven. So we've just got to stay in cover and believe in our pass rush that they're going to get him down."

The Bears are only 27th in sack percentage this season, but they got to Vick four times last season, with the sacks coming from four different defensive linemen.

--Eagles RB LeSean McCoy has outrushed even Bears MVP candidate Matt Forte this season. McCoy's 754 yards are second in the NFL to Adrian Peterson's 798. Forte is sixth with 672.

LeSean McCoy
Chris Trotman/Getty

"It's a great scheme for what he does, being a cutback runner and a slash runner and just how he can stretch the field," Bears NT Anthony Adams said of McCoy. "He's been doing a great job. I think he's one of the keys as to why they're having success."

McCoy got just 10 carries vs. the Bears last season because the Eagles were chasing a double-digit deficit for much of the game, but he still managed 53 yards.

The Bears' defense is 12th in rushing yards allowed but 29th in average gain per run allowed, which isn't a good sign, considering McCoy is averaging 5.6 yards per carry, more than anyone in the league with 60 or more carries.

--DT Henry Melton burst on the scene with a pair of sacks in the Bears' season-opening victory over the Falcons. But he's had just one sack and only four tackles since then.

"I'm just trying to find some consistency," Melton said. "I try to do something every week. I want to be a playmaker. But I feel like I'm always one step away from making a big play. It's really just going back to work and trying to get some more explosion and get that extra edge during the week."

The 2009 fourth-round draft choice slapped on 20 or so pounds in the off-season, bulking up to 295 pounds so he could become a full-time 3-technique tackle after alternating between end and tackle last season.

--When safety Chris Harris was released last week -- after starting in Week 7 -- coach Lovie Smith considered him expendable partly because the Bears had been carrying six safeties and because Harris did not contribute on special teams. There was also the fact that rookie Chris Conte and second-year man Major Wright -- the current starters -- both run much better than Harris and are considered better athletes.

To fill Harris' spot on the 53-man roster, the Bears added linebacker Jabara Williams, who is expected eventually to be a major player on special teams. Williams was cut by the Rams.


--DE Julius Peppers (knee) was not a full participant in Tuesday's practice. (The Bears were off Wednesday).

--TE Kellen Davis (hip) missed some of Tuesday's practice, but he appeared to be sprinting at full speed while doing rehab work off to the side. Davis has not missed any games because of the hip injury.

--C-OG Chris Spencer was held out of practice on Tuesday because of a fractured hand that he has played with in the past two games.


QB Michael Vick
Drew Hallowell/Getty

When the Bears say their No. 1 job is to shut down the run game, they're not just talking about Eagles RB LeSean McCoy. They know they also need to contain the running of QB Michael Vick, who has rushed for 169 yards on just 26 carries (6.5-yard average) against them in four career games.

"It makes it a lot more difficult when you can run and throw the ball," Bears CB Tim Jennings said. "That's something we have to be able to take away is one of their strengths. If we can stop the run and make them throw the ball, we feel confident in that."

Offensively, the Bears will have to protect QB Jay Cutler as well as they have in the past two games, when he's been sacked just three times after getting dropped 14 times in the first three games. The Bears have allowed 21 sacks, while the Eagles' defense has 22 sacks, including nine from Jason Babin. It took Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz a few weeks to figure it out, but opponents seem to have much less success getting to Cutler when the Bears establish the run with Matt Forte, who leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage.


--Whoever the Bears start at ORT (probably converted OG Lance Louis) vs. Eagles pass-rushing terror Jason Babin, who has a team-best nine sacks from the DLE spot -- Louis has started just two NFL games at right tackle, after rookie starter Gabe Carimi was sidelined with a partially dislocated knee in Week 2, and after Frank Omiyale failed as the first replacement. Carimi is expected back for this game, although it's doubtful the Bears would throw him into the starting lineup after a seven-week absence. Still, Carimi could get some snaps as a way of easing him back.

--Bears OLT J'Marcus Webb, a first-year starter on the left side, vs. Eagles DRE Trent Cole, who has four sacks.

--Bears RB Matt Forte, who leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage and is averaging 5.4 yards per carry, vs. an Eagles defense that is No. 28 in average gain per running play allowed and features a mediocre group of linebackers.

BY THE NUMBERS: 125 -- Number of games it took Bears coach Lovie Smith to get 70 wins in the NFL. That ties him with John Fox, among active coaches, for the fastest to reach 70 victories.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "If we feel like we're going to sit a player that's been playing pretty good, that's a good sign for the Bears." -- Bears coach Lovie Smith on the prospect of re-inserting rookie ORT Gabe Carimi into the starting lineup after a five-game absence because of a knee injury.

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