The Bears have to prep for Josh Gordon's explosive play-making Sunday in Cleveland to limit the wide receiver on deep, inside breaking routes versus Cover-2.
Using the All-22 coaches tape, let's breakdown Gordon's 95-yard touchdown reception during the Browns' Week 13 victory over the Jaguars.
The Browns have their Ace (or 12) personnel on the field (two wide receivers, two tight ends, one running back) in a Pro Weak I formation with Gordon aligned to the open (weak) side at the top of the numbers. The Jaguars counter with their base 4-3 personnel playing Cover-2 in the secondary.
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To the closed (strong) side of the formation, the Browns are running the clear out 9 (fade) route with tight end Jordan Cameron on the wheel concept. To the open side, quarterback Brandon Weeden can target Gordon on the dig route (square-in) in front of the deep half safety off play action (forcing the second-level linebackers to shorten their drops in coverage).
With play action — and the running back on the check down option — holding the linebackers, Weeden has a throwing lane to look up the dig route. Gordon stems up the field and breaks at a depth of 12 to 15 yards in front of deep half safety Winston Guy on the inside cut.
In Cover-2, the safety is coached to play top-down on the dig route. That's what we see here from Guy who is in the proper position to plant and drive on the throw once Gordon makes his break inside the numbers.
But instead of taking an angle to the upfield shoulder of Gordon and securing the tackle first, Guy jumps this route and tries to make a play on the ball. That's trouble for the Jaguars as Gordon makes the catch, turns up the field and outruns the defense on a basic, intermediate concept for the 95-yard score.
The Bears safeties should expect to see the dig route from Gordon versus their Cover-2 shell Sunday. The ability to take the proper angle and tackle versus one of the NFL's top playmakers will be key to grabbing a victory on the road.
Special contributor Matt Bowen spent seven seasons in the NFL as a strong safety. He covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.