New offense designed to spread wealth

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by short faced bear, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    Marshall shouldn't be a 1-man receiving gang for Bears this year

    By Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune reporter

    12:19 p.m. CDT, August 3, 2013

    BOURBONNAIS — Brandon Marshall is still going to be Jay Cutler's go-to guy, but the Bears hope the offense creates openings for other skill position players to flourish.

    It's one of the challenges for coach Marc Trestman and his staff as they implement a scheme that almost is designed to spread the ball around.

    Marshall smashed some single-season club records in 2012 when he made 118 receptions for 1,508 yards, but the passing game as a whole wasn't much improved over 2011, when Johnny Knox led the team's wide receivers with just 37 catches.

    How is that possible? The Bears passed for 48 fewer yards in 2012 and averaged 6.8 yards per attempt, 0.27 worse than the previous year though the overall quarterback rating did rise almost seven points to 80.4.

    Essentially, Marshall started making all the plays that previously had been shared. After his 118 catches, running back Matt Forte had 44 and Earl Bennett was second among wideouts with 29.

    It's the same problem the NFC North rival Lions had as Calvin Johnson had 89 more grabs than the next closest wideout on his team, an issue the club hopes is addressed as Nate Burleson (leg) and Ryan Broyles (knee) return from serious injuries. It's not a rare issue. In 2002 when Marvin Harrison set an NFL record with 143 receptions, the next closest receiver on the Colts was Reggie Wayne with 49.

    It's much easier for a defense to prepare for a Bears team that regularly features only Marshall and Forte. That doesn't put pressure on the defense across the board.

    The Bears are hopeful Alshon Jeffery, a second-round pick a year ago, and Earl Bennett combine with Forte and tight end Martellus Bennett to keep defenses off balance. Joe Anderson is coming along as a fourth option.

    "It's just going to open up the seams a lot more," Marshall said. "They're going to have to play fair, you know, I've been seeing a lot of double and triple coverage, and not all because of my ability. Other guys were not in position because of the player's fault or the coaches' fault. Now, seeing these guys get open, and Coach Trestman getting other guys involved near the ball, says a lot."

    Marshall even has suggested his current hip issues — he had arthroscopic surgery in January and was given two practices off last week — are related to the heavy workload he had in 2012. He needs to have another big season, but Jeffery and Earl Bennett are really the key to a regularly explosive offense. The wide receivers are the ones who should be making plays downfield while Martellus Bennett, who has averaged 10.5 yards per catch in his career, occupies the middle of the field.

    "If you were to chart it, our success rate — balls thrown and balls caught — is pretty high per man," receivers coach Mike Groh said. "This system spreads the ball around and the defense has to account for everybody."

    He says the system's flexibility allows the team to move guys around, and everybody knows his opportunity will come.

    In Trestman's playbook, the concepts are designed so the players can be interchanged. That means Marshall will line up all over the place, sometimes in his traditional position on the opposite side of the tight end or even in the slot and on the tight end's side.

    "The routes are still the same even though they are different players," Trestman said. "The quarterback gets the same play. When we practice, we don't say we're going to take five plays and try to get the ball to Brandon. Brandon is a featured player on this play, Matt on this play, Alshon on this play, Martellus on this play. They may not get the ball as the primary guy but they are the No. 1 guy in the progression."

    It remains a work in progress and it would be unrealistic not to expect some struggles along the way. But a little more than a week into camp, it's pretty clear Trestman's offense is going to be more dynamic than probably anything the team has had since 1995 when the Bears featured two 1,000-yard receivers — Jeff Graham and Curtis Conway — and a 1,000-yard rusher in Rashaan Salaam.

    "We don't get a lot of credit," Marshall said. "(People) actually say we were one of the weakest units on the team. But you look around at the plays that we make on this field … we're doing it all."

    They have to do it all in Trestman's offense. That's by design.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sport...eivers-bears-chicago-20130804,0,1674897.story
  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    LOL, yeah people say, but what are the basing it on? If it's that f'd up offense Tice was running last year and the fact the Jeffery missed half the season with two separate injuries, Bennett had a very mediocre year for him, Forte wasn't used as much in the passing game, AND we had a staring TE who could seem to keep his feet or hold on to the ball, we then maybe they'd be correct. But things have changed a lot since then.

    One thing I keep noticing in the camp reports is how well Jeffery is getting open downfield. He's up against some very good CBs and he's winning some battles on the deep ball. He doesn't have Johnny Knox type speed but I think his playing speed is faster than some expected and even if he doesn't get behind his defender he's got the size and reach to still get the pass. He can make the back shoulder grabs Cutler loves to throw and he can high point the ball so I expect to see him become our deep threat this year.

    I also don't expect Earl Bennett to be as unproductive either. He's a guy who can play all three WR positions and he's also got better speed than he's given credit for and gets tough yardage after the catch. These two should take some of the burden off of Marshall this year and it sounds like he can use it. I also like what I've seen and heard so far about Joe Anderson. He could end up being the dark horse success story of camp and the preseason and I would truly love it if he can send Weems packing. Anderson just seems to have so much more to offer.

    Nah, this receiving core is anything but a weak point of the offense any longer but it's just fine with me if others still like think that way.
  3. JPosh2012

    JPosh2012 Pro-Bowler

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    The question is can Bennett stay healthy.
  4. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    That's a concern JP but I don't think he's as injury prone as it seems. The way he plays he takes a lot of shots and that one he took in the NOLA game nobody would have walked away from without hurting. That was a pretty vicious hit. Still he only had one year out of five where he's played in all 16 games so you can't ignore that.

    I like Joe Anderson's chances to make it as the #4 guy and while he's probably not quite as dependable as Bennett I still think he's gonna develop into a good WR. If that happens we can probably afford to be a little less concerned about all three of the starters.

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