Miller: Hanie's panic led to interception


Miller: Hanie's panic led to interception

Yesterday we focused on Caleb Hanies first interception returned for a touchdown. I hit on some of the pre-snap clues Hanie should have been looking for and how those clues should have affected his reaction when dealing with the strong side linebacker blitz by Seattles K.J. Wright. Ultimately, if executed properly, there would have been enough separation if Hanie gets depth rather than width on the bootleg naked play allowing Hanie to hit a wide open tight end Kellen Davis in the flat for a big play. Unfortunately, this gaffe led to Hanie getting hit by Wright which caused the interception to defensive tackle Red Bryant for a Seattle touchdown.

Today lets focus on Hanies second pick six for a touchdown.

The situation on the field is: 1st and 10, ball on the Bears 30 yard line, 5:11 left on the clock in the 4th quarter, and the score is Seattle 31 Bears 14.

The Bears elect to go four wide receivers with Hanie going out of the shotgun with running back Kahlil Bell lined up just to the right of Hanie in the gun. Two are left with Roy Williams on the outside in the (X) position and Dane Sanzenbacher in the slot (Z) position.

Two receivers are to the right with Earl Bennett on the outside in the (W) position (W = identifies receiver who has substituted for fullback) and Davis (Y = tight end) in the slot. Here is how it looks in what I always referred to as Half Right formation.



The play call in the huddle is: Half Right Counter 63 Y ReadAll Slant...On One...On One... Ready Break!

It is a simple play. Let me tell you what it means:

Half Right we already covered (formation shown above). Counter 63 is the protection called (63 = 6 man protection and just calling it left...i.e. if called to the right it would have been 62). 63 protection means the five offensive line have the four down defensive lineman plus the Mike (Mike = middle line backer). Counter 63 just means the sixth protector, the running back (RB), goes in front of the quarterback across the formation for protection to pick up the secondary blitzer (i.e. nickel back or 5th defensive back) before he gets out on a wide route.

Y ReadAll Slant - I dont want to get too complicated but offensively, route combinations are called from strong side to weak side. The tight end (Y) position always signals strength offensively. Hence, that side is called first. Y ReadAll Slant. Davis (Y) has the read route (basically an Out route, but he reads the leverage of the defender covering him) while Bennett (W) runs a clear out Go route on the outside. The weak-side is simple. It is just as it sounds All Slant. It means Williams (X) and Sanzenbacher (Z) both run slants.

Here we go from the line of scrimmage and what clues Hanie should have digested...Red Eighteen...

1. Seattle is in a four-man defensive line front

2. Seattle has gone to Nickle as the Bears went three wide receivers and are just extending Kellen Davis (Y) out. The nickel back is over Sanzenbacher and the SLB moves out to cover Davis.

3. Press coverage presented on all receivers. DingDing... Im thinking it might be Man to Man coverage.

4. The SLB over Davis is trying to bait me like hes blitzing, BUT I KNOW HE IS NOT! HE CANNOT!

5. I know this because the safety is walking down over the slot (Z) to Sanzenbachers side NOT to Kellens side. Seattle cannot blitz and be so unsound as to leave Kellen uncovered. If they did, Hanie would just throw it to him.

6. Now the nickle back is showing signs of blitzing over Sanzenbacher and I now know the safety is there to replace him. The other safety is now in the middle of the field and confirms they cannot blitz Kellens side and tells the quarterback it is Man Free coverage. It means it is just man coverage with a safety that is not assigned a particular man and is free in middle of field.

7. Im picked up in protection. Running Back Bell has the nickel back blitzing.
Red Eighteen. SET HUT

We know how it unfolded. Hanie panicked not trusting he was protected and throws the pick six to Brandon Browner. Hanie double clutched the throw because he was concerned about the MLB, when all he had to do was let Sanzenbacher clear him. He quickly went to his number two receiver Roy Williams on the outside slant that was clearly covered. Minimum, Hanie should have thrown it away if he was confused or pop his feet confidently knowing hes protected to see if Davis was uncovered along the other sideline. If hes not open then throw it away, ITs FIRST DOWN! Live to play another down. Hanie did not live to see another down as Josh McCown replaced Hanie the next series.

I originally thought Seattle brought a blitz zone the way the middle linebacker dropped, but he was just crossing the formation like Bell because the running back was his man. Seattle also had a stunt by the weak side defensive end and defensive tackle, but it was so slow developing that Bears left tackle J'Marcus Webb elected to block the most dangerous guy which was the nickel back blitzing. Bell recognized what Webb was doing and was getting in position to block the DT when he eventually came around the outside. That type of protection happens all the time and the Bears had it picked up. There was no need to panic by Hanie.

Three quick fixes for some Bears woes while searching for a turnaround

Three quick fixes for some Bears woes while searching for a turnaround

Positives were difficult to find in last Thursday’s 26-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers. So maybe the place to look for improvement lies in just getting rid of a few negatives.

As far as positives, Leonard Floyd would be the obvious one, with two sacks, one a strip and fumble recovery for a TD. Ka’Deem Carey would be another, with 10 carries for 48 yards, his second straight game with high-impact running; Jordan Howard has been shackled for two weeks, so the Bears have needed another backfield-committee member contributing. Jeremy Langford may have trouble finding work when he comes back from his ankle injury.

But negatives have far outweighed positives, which is how you get to 1-6. Fixing three of those will go a long way toward improving their chances against a Minnesota Vikings team that appeared eminently beatable in losing at Philadelphia on Sunday:

Stop the penalty hemorrhaging

For the third straight game the Bears had 10 penalties walked off against them. This "streak" started after eight infractions in the win over Detroit. The 10 in Green Bay cost the Bears 108 yards in a game where their offense netted just 189. Seven of the penalties were charged to the defense, six of which gave the Packers first downs.

The three offensive penalties were mental. A wide receiver (Alshon Jeffery) lined up offsides. The quarterback (Matt Barkley) drew a delay flag. An offensive lineman (Ted Larsen) was illegally downfield.

All of which point to a discipline problem getting worse, not better. Whether the fault lies with players losing focus or coaches not instilling a mindset is a debate, but meaningless if the problem is not addressed. “There were a lot of penalties out there,” said cornerback De’Vante Bausby, who committed three of those penalties. “We had a good scheme and plan but we just didn’t finish in the second half as a group.”

Stop the dinking

While Brian Hoyer replacing Jay Cutler scaled back the downfield element of the offense, the loss of an emerging Kevin White should not be understated. The de facto rookie may not have gotten in the end zone but he was leading the team in receptions before he suffered a broken leg in the win over Detroit.

Since the loss of White, however, the offense has shrunk. The Bears averaged 7.5 yards per pass attempt through four games with White. Without White the average is 7.0, and that is including the blip in Indianapolis, which stands as a complete anomaly. The average was 5.9 in the Jacksonville loss and 5.0 in Green Bay.

Hoyer’s ball-security orientation has been a positive, but also a limiting factor. Cutler last year had one of the best ball-security seasons of his career, yet the offense was able to average 7.5 yards per attempt.

The Bears scored two of their three rushing touchdowns in games with White, who may not yet be the field-stretcher his 4.35 speed but the prospect of White arguably made for a more threatening offense than even with the contributions of Cam Meredith.

Stop the Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings have suffered injuries at a rate like the Bears’ but have overcome them. Until Sunday in Philadelphia, when the Eagles sacked Sam Bradford six times and hit him more than a dozen other times. The Vikings never sacked Carson Wentz, who wasn’t special but was good enough while Minnesota was self-destructing.

The Vikings have beaten the Bears the last three times they’ve met, the first time that’s happened since 1999 and 2000, which is also the last time the Bears started 1-6. And the Bears have lost three straight.

The Bears were able to end the first three-game skid by focusing on one game: the Lions. The result was shutting down a very good offense, the lowest yardage-allowed (263) of the season and the firmest commitment to the run game (29) attempts.

Morale inside the locker room can only be revived by a win. One game. This game.

Report: Bears looking for Jay Cutler return against Vikings; Matt Barkley on stand-by

Report: Bears looking for Jay Cutler return against Vikings; Matt Barkley on stand-by

FOX insider Jay Glazer confirmed on Sunday that the Bears expect quarterback Jay Cutler will be back from his sprained thumb and able to start against the Minnesota Vikings next Monday night in Soldier Field.

That would put Matt Barkley back where he has been pretty much his entire three-plus-year NFL career. Waiting.

That's the Bears want what every team wants – a young quarterback in the developmental pipeline – is no secret. Ryan Pace is among the NFL executives who speak of drafting a quarterback as much as every year, even if they don’t.

Could the Bears already have that player on their roster?

If Barkley, who was pressed into service when Brian Hoyer went down with a broken arm in last Thursday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, is in fact that player, he might not be surprised. But the rest of the NFL would be.

"I'm confident that no matter where I am or what the deal is,” Barkley said, after going 6-for-15 with no TD’s and two interceptions, “I can play in this league.”

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

He may be one of the few still holding onto that belief. The Bears picked up Barkley after the Arizona Cardinals discarded him in early September. The Cardinals didn’t see Barkley as even a practice-squad option, which the Bears did and where Barkley was working before Cutler’s thumb injury forced the Bears to sign him to the active roster.

“The [Bears] personnel people thought he was a taller [6-2] guy that stood in the pocket pretty well,” said coach John Fox. “A guy that we thought we could work with, that had some experience and, hopefully, he got a little bit more experience [at Green Bay].”

Barkley has gone from possible No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft to just another touted USC quarterback who failed or were no better than just-OK at the NFL level (Todd Marinovich, Rob Johnson, Matt Leinart, Mark Sanchez), who has thrown 65 NFL passes, none for a touchdown and six that were intercepted, including two in the Bears’ 26-10 loss last Thursday in Green Bay.

The question for Barkley at this point in his career is whether Chicago is his last stop and/or chance. Fourth-round draft picks have played their ways into prominence (Kirk Cousins in Washington, Dak Prescott in Dallas, even Sonny Jurgensen and Norm Van Brocklin if you want to find Hall of Famers), but Barkley has the added challenge of being on his third team and learning yet another offense after beginning this season running Houston and Philadelphia plays for the Bears’ defense.

Barkley offered no excuses for his poor showing (18.3 passer rating). Sort of.

“It definitely would be more beneficial [to have gotten more snaps before Green Bay],” Barkley said. “I’m not going to say what Coach should do; that’s his decision and you’ve got to deal with what you’re dealt.

“Just since I’ve been here, you know, scout-team reps and trying to put our plays into what we’re seeing on cards, you try to do every little thing you can to get better no matter what you’re doing. That’s no excuse.”