Defending Arian Foster: Dont believe everything you see

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Defending Arian Foster: Dont believe everything you see

The Bears prime directive each game is rendering a team one-dimensional. That will be difficult to accomplish in the case of the Houston Texans. Very, very difficult.

Tailback Arian Foster. leads the NFL in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage over the past 2.5 years. He is a cutback runner behind a line that pulls and wants to get a speed-based front like Chicagos following keys and flowing to one side fast.

But the difficulty with Foster is not simply how much (yardage), but how.

The thing they do is they just get it downhill in a hurry, said linebacker Brian Urlacher. Were pretty good at pursuit. We dont try to over-pursue. Where the guy is at is where we run to.

We dont try to overshoot too many guys. But the Texans are fast, so youve got to take a pretty good angle to get them down. Everything they do is downhill for the most part.

The Denver Model

Texans coach Gary Kubiak was Denver Broncos offensive coordinator for two Super Bowl wins that may have had John Elway at quarterback. But Elways career threatened to be defined by lost Super Bowls (three) before the arrival of a superb run game built on the concept of zone blocking created by legendary line coach Alex Gibbs.

It wasis a clean, simple system that was built on smaller, quicker linemen Houstons still is. The Bears start three linemen 320 pounds or bigger (Lance Louis, Chilo Rachal, JMarcus Webb). The Texans dress one on Sundays: left tackle Duane Brown.

The Bears start three offensive linemen 6-5 or taller: Rachal, Webb, Gabe Carimi). The Broncos start one: right tackle Derek Newton.

And it seldom mattered who the Broncos primary back was, and it rarely was someone people heard of before he started running behind Gibbs and Kubiaks lines.

Over the five-year span from 1998-2002, Denvers leading rushers were Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Davis again, and Clinton Portis. Gary was a fourth-round pick, Anderson and Davis sixth-rounders.

Lanes open, one cut, then gone

A basic, then with the Broncos, now with the Texans, is linemen creating a strong flow to the front side of a play, with the defense naturally reacting that direction. The running back follows that flow and needs to make just one cut into a lane that opens.

They start with that outside zone and as your defense starts stretching and thats where the lanes start opening up, said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Thats where that one cut is, they get downhill on you fast. They want to get you going that way and then come at you.

Misdirection comes out of the boots and play action. Thats where all the misdirection comes. That O-line sells the stuff so well. They come out and zone-zone-zone and it all looks the same, and then boom, the back is out of there. The lineman gets his head in front of you and cuts you off.

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Preview: Cubs-Nationals Monday on CSN

Preview: Cubs-Nationals Monday on CSN

The Cubs take on the Washington Nationals on Monday, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

Coverage begins with Cubs Pregame Live at 6 p.m. Then catch first pitch with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Monday’s starting pitching matchup: Eddie Butler (3-2, 4.19 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (7-1, 2.96 ERA)

Click here for more stats to make sure you’re ready for the action.

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