Matt Bowen breaks down a Bears defense designed to stop Panther TE's Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey.
Nickel package with 5-man rush effective
Nickel back and linebacker can overwhelm back to pressure QB
- Matt Bowen Scouting the Bears 2:56 p.m. CDT, October 1, 2011
With Cam Newton making his fourth pro start Sunday at Soldier Field, the Bears can use pre-snap disguise to bring pressure out of their nickel package and confuse the rookie at the line of scrimmage. Rush five, drop six into coverage and take away Newton's top target inside of the numbers: the tight end position.
With the Panthers in their Ace personnel (two wide receivers, two tight ends, one running back) they are using a "Spread Orange" alignment with both tight ends removed from the core of the formation. In a third-down situation, the Bears will counter with their base 4-3 nickel front (four defensive linemen, two linebackers, five defensive backs) and bring zone pressure.
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The Bears can show their Cover-2 shell at the line of scrimmage with both cornerbacks in a press position and the safeties aligning in the deep half. Before the snap of the ball, the corners will drop to the deep third with the safeties rotating to the pressure side. The key is D.J. Moore (N). The Bears nickel back has to hold his disguise and time his blitz to prevent Newton from checking to a hot read.
The Panthers are running "Hi-Lo Crossers" underneath. Removed from the core of the formation, tight ends Jeremy Shockey (U) and Greg Olsen (Y) will get a free release to work into the route stem. To the outside, wide receivers Steve Smith (X) runs the clear out (fade) route with Legedu Naanee (Z) running the (post) route. In this concept Newton wants to work the ball inside of the numbers to his tight ends or throw the deep ball to Smith.
The Bears must create an overload pressure. With Julius Peppers (RE) on the "long scoop" to the open side A gap, the Bears will bring both Lance Briggs (W) and Moore to the open side of the formation. This should force the tackle to block down on Peppers and work the running back (R) in "scan" protection. The Bears now have a two-on-one matchup versus the back they can exploit.
The Bears are dropping six into coverage with both corners and the strong safety playing a three-deep shell (similar to Cover-3). Underneath, Brian Urlacher (M) will play the "middle hook" with the "seam-flat" defenders, Brandon Meriweather (FS) and Israel Idonije (LE) dropping to the tight ends on the crossing routes — and looking to make a play on the ball.
The Panthers QB is a weapon when he can break contain and get into the open field as a runner. This zone blitz concept is designed to take away the underneath concepts, but the contain principles are crucial. Both Moore and Henry Melton (DT) must force Newton to step up in the pocket and either take a sack or unload the ball.
Special contributor Matt Bowen, who played at Glenbard West and Iowa, spent seven seasons in the NFL as a strong safety. You also can find his work at nationalfootballpost.com.
Copyright © 2011, Chicago Tribune
( October 2, 2011 )