Thursday, January 25, 2007

Super Bowl Scene Stealers

Name two below-the-radar guys (from each team) who could be difference-makers in Super Bowl XLI.

No problem at all. Let's start with Chicago.

Offensively, I think Desmond Clark has the potential to come up big for the Bears. Clark turned in his best season in 5 years, grabbing 45 balls for 626 yards and 6 touchdowns. Now, those aren't huge numbers by any means, but they were good enough to rank him third on the team in receptions. More importantly, he developed an obvious chemistry with Rex Grossman and there's no question Sexy can use all the security blankets he can find these days.

Desmond Clark: Sexy Security Blanket

But here's the biggest thing: Indianapolis does not give up big plays. The Colts' cover 2 forces you to be patient and take the underneath routes. And while that will probably nullify Bears' deep threat, Bernard Berrian, it should mean plenty of work for Clark and Muhsin Muhammed over the middle.

On the defensive side, Ricky Manning Jr. has a knack for coming up big when the stakes are raised (remember his post-season with Carolina the year the Panthers went to the Super Bowl?). And since the Colts love to spread the field, expect Manning to see plenty of action. He's a gambler in the mold of Terrell Buckley. And if you remember, T-Buck, you know that can mean either very good or very bad things for his team.

As far as Indy is concerned, Cato June is a guy who always seems to be in the middle of the action, defensively. He's very quick, but undersized as a linebacker; meaning he's above-average playing the pass in that Cover 2, but also a potential liability against the run. But you know what? You can say that about pretty much every player on the Colts' defense. When you look at the height and weight of the Indianapolis front seven, it's obvious why this team got shredded on the ground during the regular season. Give Tony Dungy and co. credit. Because, for the life of me, I can't figure out how the Colts managed to turn this aspect of their game around.

On offense, simply watch out for Aaron Moorehead. And if you have to ask why, just re-read this.

Are You Scared Yet, Chicago? You Should Be

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