Packers' wide receiver Randall Cobb was viewed as a creative offense weapon and a top special teams talent when he came out of Kentucky. However, the second-year pro has developed quickly into one of Aaron Rodgers' top options in the passing game this season and will be a challenge for the Bears to contain on Sunday at Soldier Field.
Using the All-22 coaches tape, here is an example of how the Packers targeted Cobb off play action against the Lions' Cover-3 defense Sunday.
The Packers have Posse personnel (three receivers, one tight end, one back) on the field in a Doubles alignment versus the Lions nickel sub package (five defensive backs) playing Cover-3 (three-deep, four-under zone). Using open (weak) side play action, Rodgers can force the strong safety to step to the line of scrimmage with the X receiver, Greg Jennings, occupying the closed (strong) side cornerback on the outside curl route. The Packers are looking to create a hole in the zone coverage for Cobb on the deep crossing route.
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With Jennings forcing the cornerback to drive the curl route, and the strong safety trying to recover, Cobb can stem his route back across the field to find a soft spot in the zone. And even with the free safety driving at a downhill angle from the deep middle of the field, Cobb has enough room to make the catch.
Because of Rodgers' accuracy and arm strength, the Packers quarterback fits this ball into the throwing window to Cobb for an explosive gain. With the Bears expected to show some Cover-2 and Cover-3 looks on Sunday, reading their run/pass keys and adjusting to play action will be crucial to limiting Cobb in the Packers' playbook.
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.