Archive for the ‘Chicago Bears’ Category

marc trestman2

Before he was the quarterback whisperer, Marc Trestman was just a quarterback coach who had no idea how to coach quarterbacks. He was fresh out of law school and his only experience with the position was as a two-year intern with the Miami Hurricanes team and a backup to Tony Dungy at the University of Minnesota in the mid-to-late 1970s. But Howard Schnellenberger, then the Hurricanes’ coach, hired the 27-year-old Trestman.

“Coaching never crossed my mind for a minute,” he told The Gazette‘s Herb Zerkowsky in conversation. “I never had a great relationship with my coaches, to my recollection. I always tell coach Schnellenberger he saw something in me I never saw in myself. To hire me as the quarterback coach … as young as I was. And I really coached them. The quarterback’s the center of the game. I was just winging it. I had no experience, no criteria, no mentorship, no training. Nothing. I’m just grateful he saw that in me.”

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jon bostic2

First Robert Griffin III, now Aaron Rodgers. You can’t blame Jon Bostic if he said life was a bit unfair having to face two quality play action passers in his first two starts. The Redskins’ offense had him working hard all over the field last week and it’s likely that the Packers’ offense will tonight, too.

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Shea McClellin is not panning out like the Bears hoped. They won’t tell us that because general manager Phil Emery is the one who selected him only a year ago, but it’s clear by the former first-round pick’s performance.

He looks lost when rushing the passer, having registered only one sack and eight hurries this season. Those have come by relentless pursuit or a stunt that’s freed him up. Otherwise, he’s been inefficient in his 273 snaps, playing with poor pad level, hand usage, and a lack of strength that’s doomed him at the point of attack.

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Earl Bennett is waiting for the snap. Without looking, he points at the line judge to ensure he’s lined up correctly on the 17-yard line, where the line of scrimmage stands. He then takes a step forward with his right foot, his inside foot, and stands on the line of scrimmage. Inside foot to the ball-side is the one that is always ahead of the two. Lining up is the first step to playing wide receiver.

Next is the hands. Most receivers don’t have their arms high and tight to their upper body. In this Trips Left set, in which Benentt is the No. 2 and slot receiver, he stands in between the monstrous Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, both towering targets who have their arms hanging to their sides. But not Bennett, whose elbows are bent and his hands are up high like he’s skiing.

Bennett hasn’t moved since he first set in his stance. He looks poised and focused, concentrating on the ball and the upcoming snap. On this 3rd-and-5 play in a heated 27-23 game, he’ll run a corner route that’ll break at 10-12 yards and eventually stretch a zone cornerback thin or run away from man coverage. It’s part of a passing concept, called “Smash,” that’s designed to beat a five under, two deep Cover 2 zone. He runs a corner route from the slot while the outside receiver, Marshall in this case, runs a five-yard hitch route and turns back to the quarterback. But before he runs the route, he has to get off the line of scrimmage.

It’s tough to get off the line from the slot against a press cornerback or safety. It’s different than being off the line, where there’s the luxury of having a free release and setting up the defensive back with it. No, in the slot and on the line, there’s no luxury; the receiver either wins at the line or he’s done. Doomed. Forget the route. Forget the throw. Forget the catch.

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Jay Cutler throws to Brandon Marshall a lot. He throws to him when he’s open, when he’s double teamed, when he’s triple teamed, and also when he’s on the John. Man, it’s hard to find a few minutes of peace these days.

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Before you think about it for long, the Bears running any sort of read-option attack seems like the kind of scheming a coach would do if he’s sitting on a couch somewhere with a fresh copy of Madden in one hand, and heavily buttered popcorn in the other. Then after a few moments of thinking, you see that even if it’s only a randomly used wrinkle, it just might work.

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The Chicago Bears raised some eyebrows on the first day of the draft when they selected Oregon offensive lineman Kyle Long with their No. 20 overall pick. It was a surprise to some, those who immediately called it a “reach” without understanding the thought process behind it. General manager Phil Emery did a thorough press conference detailing why the organization liked Long, citing his versatility and athleticism. Along with those two traits, Long also brings upside to the team, creating a combination that all GMs look for in their first-round picks.

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