Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Breaking down the game film: Bears vs Patriots

We take a look at in-game snapshots of the Chicago Bears loss to the New England Patriots. Picture from Kevin Fishbain of ChicagoFootball.com

1. 2nd and 19 for the Bears:

After a holding penalty, the Bears were in a position of 2nd and 19.  They had Brandon Marshall with single coverage on the outside and the high safety out of position.  However, Brandon Browner was blanketing Marshall.  While in theory, throwing to Marshall on the outside is the correct throw, Cutler has to realize that Marshall is just not open.  After the Dolphins loss, Cutler said in a press conference that he needs to take what the defense gives you.  Maybe try looking at the open man in the black triangle.

2. Failed screen pass:
This is a perfectly drawn up screen pass.  You have offensive linemen out in front.  You have wide receivers ready to block.  You have a ridiculously large hole opened up.  The issue?  You have defensive lineman Dominique Easley (who I raved about coming out of the draft), recognize the screen pass and blow up Matt Forte before he has a shot to catch the ball.  It forces Jay Cutler to have to throw the ball to Forte's feet.

3. Wrong target in a zone defense:
 As you can see in the snapshot of the Patriots zone defense, they have all of the short routes bottled up.  Jay Cutler decides to dump it to Matt Forte, who has a linebacker on his tail and a safety (in red circle) coming down.  The lack of preparation shows where the Bears and Jay Cutler don't know where the soft spots of the zone would be.  You can see Alshon and Holmes going to open spots for a big chunk of yardage.  Again, taking what the defense gives you, you go to Alshon, not Forte.

4. 2nd and 4 and who are you throwing it to?!!?!:
The Bears need to get to the 31 to move the chains.  You have Martellus Bennett wide open on the 28 (and a good chance to get the first if he catches the ball).  You have Matt Forte wide open on the 29.  You have Alshon Jeffery wide open on the 42.  So...who do you throw it to?  Of course, Brandon Marshall who has Darrelle Revis all over him and blanket coverage on either side.  This is the epitome of why the Bears offense has been sputtering: wrong reads. 

5. How do you not cover Gronk!?!?:
In what was the biggest downfall of the Bears defense on Sunday was not covering Gronk.  In a zone defense, Gronk gets a clean release and room to run.  Look at the blue space of running room he had.  Did Mel Tucker even watch game film?

6. Deja vu:
Because seeing it once wasn't enough, here's another (of numerous times) where Gronk gets a free release and heads right to open pastures.  It's extremely frustrating.  Anybody that has watched an NFL game this year knew what the Patriot's game plan would be...except Mel Tucker.  
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Chicago Bears rough loss to the New England Patriots

The Chicago Bears take a tough loss to the New England Patriots in their last game before their bye week.  We talk with Lester Wiltfong of WindyCityGridiron.com about the game.



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Friday, October 24, 2014

Is Lance Briggs holding the Bears defense back?


The three opening day starting linebackers for the 2014 Chicago Bears were first year linebacker and converted DE Shea McClellin and veterans DJ Williams and Lance Briggs.  After training camp, after preseason, after evaluating all options, these three were deemed to be the best option for the Chicago Bears defense.

The general thinking was that having two veteran linebackers would help out the first-year linebacker and help stabilize the revamped defense.  After last year, the draft picks, and the free agent signings, the full focus from Phil Emery down to the practice squad defensive players is that they need to stop the run.  Veteran linebackers give you the best chance to stop the run.  But is what we are seeing the best option?

Other than week 1 against Buffalo, where the defense gave up nearly 200 yards on the ground, the defense has been fairly decent against the run (especially considering how abysmal the unit was against the run last season).  127 yards on the ground in a win in San Fran, 114 yards in a win versus the Jets, 56yards for the Packers, 90 for Carolina, 42 for Atlanta, and 137 rushing yards for Miami making the Bears almost perfectly in the middle of the pack (#16) rush defense.  So, for the most part, not being able to stop the run isn't the reason for the Bears 3-4 record.

Where we are seeing the disconnect on the defense is pass coverage and getting off the field on 3rd downs.  If you are watching the product on the field and you're paying attention, you'll see two old men plodding around the field. DJ Williams and Lance Briggs know where they need to be on running plays, but on pass downs and read option plays and misdirections, the pair are finding that father time has hit them ridiculously hard.

Against the Falcons, one of the most potent passing attacks in the league, all three starting linebackers and primary backup Jon Bostic were all injured and out.  The Bears were forced to start three young linebackers: Greene, Sharpton, and Jones.  What they lacked in experience, they more than made up for in speed, hitting, and athleticism.  Where we see the impact of this youthful speed over the veteran experience most is on the third down efficiency. Atlanta was only 4 of the 13 on third down attempts.  Fact: you stop the opponent on third down and you give the ball back to your offense and get to rest up for a few minutes.  Are the lost steps on the veteran linebackers the key to why the Bears can't get off the field on third downs?

With the rich history of linebackers that the Chicago Bears have had (Mike Singletary, Dick Butkus, Otis Wilson, Doug Buffone, Brian Urlacher, Bill George, etc), it's a hard pill to swallow that the well seems to have run dry and the talent pool at linebacker is no longer there.
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bears take a tough loss at home to the Miami Dolphins

The Chicago Bears tough loss to the Miami Dolphins at Solider Field was a rough one to swallow.  Come listen to me and Lester Wiltfong from WindyCityGridiron.com talk about game and preview the New England game next week.


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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Chicago Bears huge win vs Atlanta Falcons and the start of the Blackhawks season (Podcast episode 32)

The Chicago Bears with a huge win versus Devon Hester and the Atlanta Falcons.  Also, the Blackhawks begin their quest to get the Stanley Cup back with back to back wins.  All of this and more on this episode of Bill Swerskis Sports Talk Chicago


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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Bears' tough loss to the Panthers and the Nick Leddy trade

The Chicago Bears took a tough loss to the Carolina Panthers and the Blackhawks trade Nick Leddy to the NY Isalnders for 3 prospects.  All of this and more on this episode of Bill Swerskis Sports Talk Chicago


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