Marc Trestman, Aaron Kromer and the rest of the offensive staff have their ways of dealing with 3-4 defensive schemes. They’ve coached and played against them over their times in the NFL.
But to really get inside the 3-4 means understanding how 3-4 coaches think. The Bears needed look no further than a member of their own staff for that: Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has coached the 3-4, and the offensive guys sought him out.
“Definitely to use a resource like Mel is a smart thing to do, and anytime I get a chance to do that I do,” offensive coordinator Kromer said. “So what gives you headaches in a 3-4, or what’s tough on you? What do you want to see in a 3-4?
“That conversation has happened, yes.”
Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010 and is universally regarded as one of the founding proponents of the 3-4 system. Quarterback Jay Cutler passed for 236 yards and two touchdowns in game two of 2009 against the Steelers, who sacked him twice.
That was a fourth-quarter comeback, the only one that year for Cutler, who knows what the Pittsburgh style of defense puts on him as far as recognition and adjustment.
“You can be really multiple in a 3-4 and bring pressure from a lot of different areas, the edge, the middle, get safeties involved,” Cutler said. “It’s complex.
“We just don’t see it often. We go against a 3-4 almost every day in practice, it’s something that if you don’t see something, if you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s going to take an extra second, an extra click to really get it, but we’ve had a good week so far trying to duplicate it as best we can.”