It wasn't long ago that Bears fans were hearing the words "offensive genius" attached to Mike Martz. Today it was the exact word Matt Forte used to describe Marc Trestman.
So should we buy into it this time? Well, we're only two games into the season, but I'm going all in this time around. Something I never did with Martz.
I'm buying this after talking to some offensive players and seeing their faces and reaction to what they are hearing in meetings and seeing on the field. We all know that anybody can call plays, but two things make up a good play caller: First, knowing when to call a play, and second, the knowledge of what looks they will get from defenses versus particular personnel groupings and formations that will allow the plays to succeed. This is where Trestman has succeeded and is following in a long line of coaches with West Coast-system backgrounds that understand the importance of scheme and concepts, a word he uses almost daily.
If you have the Vikings game recorded, go back and look at some plays where this can be found. Even better, if you subscribe to NFL REWIND, look at the coaches tape video.
Second quarter, 29 seconds left: Jay Cutler passes to Earl Bennett
Situation is late in half. Vikings play a soft shell coverage, kind of a Cover 2 but more of a shell rainbow, umbrella coverage. Corners get more depth since it's late in half. Earl Bennett is the widest receiver to the right, Forte is in a tight slot position inside him. Earl runs a 15-yard curl. Forte releases up field, delays at 5 yards then continues to an out route. He pulls the linebacker out of the hole and Bennett is wide open. Perfect call against the expected. They also end up with Marshall open on a corner route on the backside, and Martellus open on a delayed release in the flat. The play design beats the coverage.
First quarter, 12:16 remaining: Jay Cutler passes to Martellus Bennett
Alshon Jeffery is wide left, Bennett is inside. They each get a tight man coverage. Jeffery runs a slant-type route going 45 degrees off the line, Bennett runs a flat route off his backside forcing his man to either run over the top of Jeffery or under him. Either way, the route concept opens Bennett up because his man automatically loses ground and space is created. Nice design and execution. Truth is Alshon should have been called for an illegal pick because he used his hands to push the man covering Bennett, but he didn't have to. Regardless, the ref didn't call it.
There are several plays in the game where the play design and call and timing of call were perfect and it didn't happen by accident.
You can see more of how the offense is working when I host Playbook with Jim Miller every Thursday night at 10:30 on Comcast SportsNet Chicago. We break down the X's and O's of the game.