Seven observations from Bears - Saints

Seven observations from Bears - Saints
October 8, 2013, 10:45 am
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There shouldn't be too much concern over the Bears offensive line despite some breakdowns against the Saints. The good news is that the problems were communication issues and assignment problems. They were not physical mistakes which could be a concern. The offensive line was solid for the first four games and in the second half against the Saints, so it’s unlikely we will see those types of mistakes going forward.

The biggest concern, which could derail the season, are the issues on the defensive line.

The defense was getting much push or pressure when they had Henry Melton and Stephen Paea in the lineup. Most of the pressure they did generate came by blitzing, which this defense is designed to do.  Now they are calling guys off the street to play a major role and in some cases, perhaps a starting role. Mel Tucker will be forced to blitz more and bring more than 4 pass rushers if they expect to get sacks and pressure. That will expose the secondary to more single coverage, which is never good even when you have two pro bowl caliber corners. They already have a guy in Corey Wootton who is playing out of position. He is, by no means, an interior defensive tackle, but he's embraced the forced change and will do his best.

[MORE: Trestman: Bears 'getting closer' but need to end losing streak]

Brandon Marshall again voiced his frustrations. Not a surprise is it?

Well I looked at several plays on tape and here is an example of what I saw from looking at the all-22 tape. Let’s break it down play by play on a few of the plays.

1. In the first quarter on a third and three, he was aligned in slot, he had man-to-man coverage on the inside with a safety over the top. The ball didn't come his way and it should not have.

2. Later, Marshall ran a 5 yard hook versus a zone look. He didn't get ball but was open.

3. On a 3rd-and-17, he lined up I side and ran a 5 yard cross versus a very soft zone. He caught the ball, but no chance for bigger play based on coverage.

4. 2nd and 8, he lined up on left side, again lined up inside and ran a 5 yard hook route to the outside, he had a nickel man on him, he fell down and was not open. Earl Bennett caught a 14 yard pass on the sideline.

5. 1st and 10, lined up inside again in slot on left side, Marshall ran a route in seam at about 12 yards, the ball came his way, it was a low throw and he didn't make the catch.

6. 1st and 10, lined up wide right, he got press man coverage with a safety playing over the top, ball didn't come his way and should not have. Not open.

7. 3rd and 5, lined up tight right, he was bracketed by the corner on the outside and safety on the inside. The ball went to Alshon Jeffery for a 31 yard gain up the middle. Jeffery was open because the safety played Marshall which left a hole in the middle.

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A couple of observations: Those plays were indicative of much of what happened to Brandon Marshall. He was moved in the formation, but he seemed to be lined up more inside which makes it more difficult for defenses to set their coverage against him. He wasn’t open a lot and Cutler did a good job by not forcing the ball to him. However, he should not be complaining publicly when another guy gets 10 receptions for 218 yards partly because the coverage focused on him allowed the passing game to excel.