Scouting the Bears
6:18 PM CDT, October 17, 2013
The Bears can continue to feed the ball to wide receiver Brandon Marshall on Sunday against the Redskins by targeting Cover-1 based off alignment and scheme.
Using the All-22 coaches film from Week 6, let's breakdown how Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo found the matchup he wanted against the Redskins' man-coverage look.
The Cowboys have their Ace personnel on the field (two wide receivers, two tight ends, one running back) and shift to a two-back Pistol alignment with receiver Dez Bryant in a reduced split (tight to the core) to the open (weak) side of the formation. The Redskins counter with their base 3-4 front playing Cover-1 "rover" (middle linebacker drops as an underneath hole defender).
To the closed (strong) side of the formation, the Cowboys run the "dagger" concept (tight end on seam, No. 1 receiver on deep dig route) with the running back widening the defense on the swing route. To the open side, they are creating a pick situation versus cornerback DeAngelo Hall with Bryant on the shallow drive route and the tight end releasing to the flat out of the backfield.
Because of the reduced split from Bryant (and the hard inside release), Hall has to bubble over the inside traffic to get back in-phase (on the hip) versus the receiver. That allows Bryant to gain separation and work underneath linebacker London Fletcher. He becomes an easy target for Romo to deliver the ball to on a high percentage throw inside the numbers.
This is a basic concept from the Cowboys that gets the ball to their top receiver with space to work with in the open field. Bryant squares his pads and turns this route into a 17 yard gain.
The Bears and quarterback Jay Cutler should expect Hall to matchup with Marshall this Sunday at FedEx Field. However, Cutler still can target his No. 1 option with some basic man coverage beaters that allow Marshall to work away from the defender's leverage in crucial down-and-distance situations.
Special contributor Matt Bowen spent seven seasons in the NFL as a strong safety. He covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC