The Bears do not want rookie QB Kyle Orton put into a position where the opponent knows he must throw the ball. Establishing a running game that must be respected and playing with a lead are crucial to that plan. The Bears also want to run the ball enough to keep starting RB Thomas Jones happy and effective, while also developing first-round draft pick Cedric Benson, who didn't touch the ball in the last game.
"Well we just have to go out and run our offense," said offensive coordinator Ron Turner. "Number one it starts with the running game. We've got to be able to run the ball."
Don't be surprised to see the Bears run 35-40 times against the Browns, who have the 26th ranked rush defense. The 3-4 defense Cleveland employs is susceptible to being pushed off the line of scrimmage.
Defensively, the Bears will not abandon their goal of stopping the run to bring extra pressure on the pass rush. They are confident they can get a strong rush from the front four now that DT Tommie Harris is healthy after battling through some minor injuries earlier in the season.
Trent Dilfer has been sacked once every 26 attempts this season, but does present a standing target that will be unable to avoid a pass rush.
"Our front four has to attack the line of scrimmage, has to really get after the quarterback," said defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. "I think that's a big part of it, if he gets comfortable back there, he's got the ability to find the receivers. He's got a good enough arm, he's a smart football player and if he gets comfortable he can do some damage."
Matchups to Watch
Bears QB Kyle Orton, coming off a five-interception outing two weeks ago, faces a Cleveland defense that is No. 30 in passing yards allowed and 31st in sacks. The Bears' passing offense is No. 29 in yards and No. 30 in yards per play. Something will have to give between the weaknesses of each team.
The Bears' run defense, which is No. 9 in yards and No. 4 in average gain allowed per play and has permitted just 112 yards on 52 carries in its last two games, faces a Browns running game, led by Reuben Droughns that is tied for 25th in yards.
Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher said despite the unimpressive numbers by Cleveland on the ground, their style presents a unique challenge.
"They run just plays that give me fits as a middle linebacker cause I have to read my keys and kind of be slower than I normally am," Urlacher said. "So I have to kind of be patient and just read the fullback and see where he's going."
Browns Game Plan
Yes, Kyle Orton is a rookie with one touchdown pass and six interceptions, but Coach Romeo Crennel wants to make sure his defense does not take Orton lightly. To that end, he has shown tape of a play from the Browns-Bears preseason game in which Orton hooked up with Muhsin Muhammad for 47 yards.
The Browns could disguise their coverages to trick Orton, but if they do it will be only occasionally. Crennel is not certain his team is ready to get exotic.
"I would rather line up where you are supposed to be," Crennel said. "I don't know if we're good enough to disguise. I tell (the team) to disguise if they can, but be where you are supposed to be to take care of your job first."
Offensively the Browns have been successful with run after the catch. They average 7.9 yards per pass attempts and have touchdowns of 80, 68 and 62 yards.
"We've just got to get them on the ground when they catch it," Urlacher said. "If we get a chance to make a tackle we've got to make the tackle."
Cleveland has only turned the ball over three times, which is the tied for the third fewest in the NFL. The Chicago defense emphasizes going after the football and has forced nine turnovers this season.
Browns Matchups to Watch
Browns CB Daylon McCutcheon, who is listed at 5-10, vs. Bears WR Muhsin Muhammad, who is listed at 6-2: McCutcheon always players bigger than his program size. He is looking to shut down Muhammad, because McCutcheon was the corner burned on the 47-yard pass play in the preseason. The Browns are not a blitzing team. They do play a lot of zone defense.
Browns C Jeff Faine vs. Bears MLB Brian Urlacher: Faine must first fight through nose tackle Ian Scott to get to Urlacher. The Browns want to run and will have a much better chance at success if they can control Urlacher, who is third on the Bears with 27 tackles and first with three sacks.