Game Plan: Bears-Buccaneers

The Bears are going to be hard pressed to pass against the Bucs defense, so Thomas Jones will have to carry the load.

The Bears will come after Brian Griese, but they may have difficulty doing that without DLE Adewale Ogunleye, who is not expected to play because of a lower right leg injury. They are not overly concerned with the Bucs' running game, but think Michael Clayton is a player. On offense the Bears will do everything they can to establish the running game because it's been hammered home to them that they do not have a quarterback on the roster who can beat anyone by throwing the ball. The Bears have to run the ball 40 times to beat anyone, and Thomas Jones is capable of doing that.

--Ex-Bucs RB Thomas Jones, who is fifth in the NFC with 458 rushing yards and has been the only consistent offense for the Bears, vs. a Tampa Bay run defense that ranks No. 21 in yards allowed.

--Bears QB Jonathan Quinn, who was horrendous last week and has been sacked eight times in the last two games, vs. a Bucs defense that ranks No. 4 in passing yards allowed.

The Bucs are gaining confidence on offense under Brian Griese.

In a stretch dating back to his relief appearance against New Orleans, Griese hit 25-of-28 passes, including his first nine in Monday night's 28-21 loss to the Rams.

The Bucs also have had more success getting the ball downfield. Receiver Michael Clayton had a breakout game against the Rams, catching eight passes for 148 yards.

As much as Jon Gruden would like to run the football, and he really would, he knows it won't be easy against the Bears defense and linebacker Brian Urlacher.

So he will try to spread the ball around in the air, much the way he did against the Rams.

Defensively, the Bucs have been susceptible to yielding big plays. Rams receiver Torry Holt burned Tampa Bay for two long touchdown receptions, something that should never happen against Cover Two.

But safeties Jermaine Phillips and Dwight Smith have not been making plays and that's always a concern. Not against the Bears. Chicago had 34 yards passing last week in a loss to Washington. Stopping running back Thomas Jones is the only concern this week.

--Bears RB Thomas Jones vs. Bucs LB Jeff Gooch. Jones, whose career was resurrected in Tampa Bay, is the fifth-leading rusher in the NFC. Gooch, filling in for injured starter Shelton Quarles, had 17 tackles against the Rams Monday night.

--Bears QB Jonathan Quinn or Craig Krenzel vs. Bucs secondary. Quinn passed for just 34 yards last week against the Redskins and had an INT returned for a touchdown. No matter how well Jones can run the football, the Bears need more balance.

--Bears RT John Tait vs. Bucs DE Greg Spires. Tait is a blue-chip free agent who gives the Bears some thump in the running game. Spires is among the most solid Bucs defensive linemen and is coming off a two-sack, one forced fumble performance against the Rams.

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