Games

Bears run game will be key in opener

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For the offensive line to be a force in the run game, center Sam Mustipher said the key is getting everyone on the same page and continuing to build preseason growth.
“I’d say seeing things through one pair of eyes, being on the same page regarding assignments and things like that,” Mustipher said. “The main focus for us really should be to just go out there and do what the coaches have for us. When we go out, and we do, and then you implement Coach Flus’ HITS principle And how it compares to our transgression, that’s a recipe for success.”
Mustipher is familiar with the Bears’ Week 1 opponent as he started centrally against the 49ers last season. San Francisco finished the 2021 season third in overall defense. They were sixth among NFL teams in rushing yards allowed per game (98.7) and yards per carry (4.0).
While the 49ers defensive front saw some turnover between 2021 and 2022, Mustipher knows the group is still going through a tough test.
“It’s a very talented defense,” Mustipher said. “[Defensive coordinator] DeMeco Ryans does a great job. He has playing experience so he really understands how to beat protections and stuff like that. I mean, you can tell from the blitzes they perform, his understanding of the game, how he can get his guys in a great position. But as for rollover, that’s a talented seven, those guys evolve and change every year. Talented back end too, but especially that front seven is one of the most dominant in the NFL, so it’s going to be a great challenge.”
Mustipher remains confident in his unit’s ability to meet the challenge on Sunday. He’s ready to see the run game take shape and be able to “get off the ball and hit people”.
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