Watch for Ravens to work tight end deep

Lions had some success doing it approaching red zone against Bears on Sunday

Heading into Sunday's matchup with Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, Mel Tucker's defense should expect to be tested once again on the inside seams in their Cover-2 shell.

Using the All-22 coaches tape from the Bears Week 10 loss to the Lions, here's a breakdown on how Matthew Stafford was able to target the tight end in the four verticals concept for an explosive gain.

The Lions 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 the ball in the strike zone (20 to 35 yard line). The Bears counter with their base nickel sub package (five defensive backs) playing Cover-2 in the secondary.

This is a classic Cover-2 beater off quick play action that puts stress on the two deep half safeties (play two verticals) and forces the underneath defenders to gain depth to cushion the inside seam routes.

Because of the open (weak) side play action to running back Reggie Bush, Sam linebacker James Anderson settles his feet and hesitates versus the release of tight end Brandon Pettigrew. That allows the Lions tight end to work over the top of Anderson and stem his route back to the near hash marks.

With strong safety Major Wright playing in the deep half over both Pettigrew and Calvin Johnson to the closed (strong) side of the formation, Stafford has a clean throwing window inside to deliver the ball.

Wright drives top-down on the inside seam, but because of the lack of depth from Anderson, Pettigrew finds a soft hole in the zone defense to set up the Lions in prime scoring position.

The Ravens have shown this same route concept on tape multiple times and will target the tight end or work the ball outside to take advantage of Torrey Smith's deep ball speed. And with Charles Tillman on the shelf, the vertical game could be in play for Flacco and the Ravens at Soldier Field.

Twitter @MattBowen41

Special contributor Matt Bowen spent seven seasons in the NFL as a strong safety. He covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.

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