Plan of Attack vs. Eagles

Lake Forest - Even though they'll have a different quarterback running the operation this week, the Bears' offensive game plan against the Eagles will be similar to the formula they used with great success against the Packers two Sundays ago.

In a nutshell, offensive coordinator Terry Shea wants to prevent the Eagles' fearsome pass rush from demolishing fill-in quarterback Jonathan Quinn at noon Sunday at Soldier Field. It will be Quinn's first start in place of Rex Grossman, who is out for the season with a ruptured ACL in his right knee.

"We designed a game plan (against the Packers) around getting the ball out of (Rex Grossman's) hand, and that's what Jonathan is going to be asked to do," Shea said. "Our game plan (against the Eagles) will reflect that, and I think Jonathan will respond to that very well. He knows how to read coverages, and he knows how to see blitzes, and he'll be good at that part of it."

That hasn't always been the case with Quinn, who has a tendency to hold on to the ball too long. That would be a problem against the Eagles. Philly is second in the league in sacks and has gotten at least four in each of its first three games.

Defensive left end Jevon Kearse leads the Eagles with three sacks, and he got all of them last week. The most difficult part of defending against the Eagles' blitzes is figuring out from where the pressure will come. A cornerback, Sheldon Brown, is second on the team with two sacks, and nine other players have one or one-half sack each.

"The Eagles have a little different style than the Packers did, but they really know how to bring that pressure off of one side or the other," Shea said. "We're going to have to make sure we use our protections correctly. You don't get as much man-to-man coverage as you might think from the Eagles, as much as they blitz."

The advantages for the Bears are that standout offensive right tackle John Tait stands between Kearse and Quinn, and Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera knows a bit about the Eagles' defense, since he was their linebackers coach the previous five seasons.

Another advantage is that when the Eagles don't get to the quarterback, they are susceptible to big plays in the passing game. The Eagles allow an average of 251 passing yards per game, 24th in the league. They're not overly impressive against the run either, permitting 108 yards per game, 17th in the NFL.

On paper, the Bears' offense vs. the Eagles' defense appears to be an advantageous matchup for coach Lovie Smith's team.

"We feel like we have some good things going on the offensive side of the football," Smith said. "Thomas Jones: What more can he do?" Jones leads the NFC with 329 rushing yards and is third in the NFL. His four rushing TDs are tied for first in the league, and his 5.0-yard average per carry is fourth in the NFC and eighth in the NFL.

"He's really having a super year," Smith said. "And the offensive line is doing a great job of opening holes in the running game and protecting our quarterback, too. So that's a good part of having a new quarterback coming in. We're going to keep going with our offense. It's what we do best."

But it won't continue to be, unless Quinn can develop the knack for avoiding the sack that has helped Grossman's proficiency. In his seven-year career, Quinn has been sacked an average of once for every 8.0 pass attempts. Grossman's been sacked just once every 17.3 pass attempts. After throwing three straight incompletions in the loss to the Vikings Sunday, Quinn was sacked on the Bears' final offensive play.

"We've met with Jonathan, and we said, 'Hey Jon, maybe we could have selected something differently in terms of your thought process here,' " Shea said. "But it was a tough situation on the 10-yard line coming out. For the most part, he's demonstrated a very consistent ability to make the proper decisions.

"He's good with his progressions (but) not as quick-handed with the ball as Rex. Rex did a great job for us of getting the ball out of his hand when he had pressure right in his face. That's what allowed Rex to be one of the (least) sacked quarterbacks in the NFL."

That's what the Bears need Quinn to become by Sunday.

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