Updated Dec 19, 2012 - 1:42 pm
Chicago Bears prepare to face 'really good' Arizona defense
In preparing for their Sunday matchup at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, both Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith and quarterback Jay Cutler have taken note of what the Cardinals do to stop opponents.
"Aggressive bunch that has good stats to back them up," Smith said of the Cardinals.
Arizona ranks 11th in total defense, but fourth in passing yards allowed. The Cardinals' 36 sacks are tied for seventh in football, and their 22 interceptions are tops in the league.
Defensive coordinator Ray Horton's group has held elite NFL quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan to sub-par efforts, which is something Cutler has certainly taken notice of.
"Really good, really good," he said when asked what he's seen of Arizona. "Watching them on film, they throw a lot of different looks at you, they're not afraid to blitz you."
Cutler praised the Cardinals' secondary, linebackers and front four -- really the entire defense.
"So it's challenging, they're really good on third down and in the red zone and they force turnovers," he said. "All the things you want out of a defense."
Cutler comes into the game completing 60-percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He's been hit a lot, though, and fumbled the ball seven times. His top target is the six-foot-four Brandon Marshall, who has already caught 107 passes for 1,398 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Marshall will be working against Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, who is quickly gaining a reputation for being able to shut down the NFL's top wideouts. He helped to hold Lions star Calvin Johnson to a 10-catch, 121-yard effort in a 38-10 Arizona win last Sunday.
Peterson has intercepted seven passes this season, and has picked off one in each of the last four games.
"Good player, physical, really good ball skills, runs well, breaks on the ball well, tackles well," Cutler said of Peterson. "Brandon's had some big matchups this year, and this is going to be another big one for him."
Perhaps Cutler's coach put it best when he talked about Peterson's combination of size and speed to go along with quickness and a willingness to tackle.
"There's not much he can't do," he said.
- Cardinals vs. Chargers preview: Final chance to make an impression
- Arizona Cardinals sign DT Tommy Kelly
- Report: Arizona Cardinals bring James Harrison in for a visit
- Arizona Cardinals RB Zach Bauman excited for 'opportunity to show what I can do' Thursday vs. Chargers
- Confident Chandler Catanzaro looks to prove himself as Arizona Cardinals kicker
- Kirk Gibson, D-backs manager - Tuesday August 26D-backs manager Kirk Gibson discusses possible changes to a six-man rotation.
- Dave Pasch - Cardinals commentator - Tuesday August 26Dave Pasch thinks Michael Floyd is a number one receiving target.
- Mike Sando, ESPN NFL Insider - Tuesday August 26Mike Sando takes us inside the NFL headlines.
- Who impressed/Who depressed - Monday August 25Vince praises Arizona's newest football dynasty.
- Bruce Arians- Cardinals head coach - Monday August 25Bruce Arians says Jay Feely was let go early on so he can catch on with another team.