With Aaron Rodgers back in the lineup for the Packers, the Bears defense has to prep for deep, inside vertical concepts off play action versus their nickel pressure schemes Sunday at Soldier Field.
Using the All-22 coaches tape, let's break down how Rodgers exposed the Bears five-man pressure on the seam route to Jordy Nelson from the Week 9 matchup at Lambeau Field.
The Packers have their Posse (or 11) personnel on the field (three wide receivers, one tight end, one running back) in a 2-by-2 doubles alignment with Nelson aligned in the slot to the open (weak) side of the formation. The Bears respond by showing Cover-2 in their pre-snap alignment and sending a nickel pressure with Isaiah Frey on the edge blitz to the open side.
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With the Packers using seven-man protection off play action (forcing middle linebacker Jon Bostic to attack the line), Rodgers has time for Nelson to work the seam route to the opposite hash versus safety Chris Conte.
In this pressure, Conte is responsible for carrying the vertical stem of Nelson. However, instead of taking an angle to the upfield shoulder of Nelson, the Bears safety drives downhill on the route (expecting the ball to come out versus pressure) and now is stuck in a trail position.
And with the Bears second-level defenders removed because of the play action, Rodgers has a clear throwing window to target Nelson in the soft hole in front of safety Major Wright.
Nelson makes the catch, gets up the field and turns this route into an explosive gain because of the Bears inability to identify the play action or match to the seam in the back end.
I expect defensive coordinator Mel Tucker to bring pressure versus Rodgers, but the Bears can't give up big plays because of a lack of eye discipline or poor angles in the secondary.
Special contributor Matt Bowen spent seven seasons in the NFL as a strong safety. He covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.