I'll try to do this toward the beginning of every week, but it will greatly depend on the time I can finagle at the day job, so give me a break if I miss a week. I will still be doing Cheesehead TV Matchup every Friday.
Heading into the game with the Bears on Sunday night, be sure to watch for the counter pitch. (That's the name I've given it) It's one of my favorite's in McCarthy's playbook and pretty unique when it comes to NFL offenses. I can't recall another team that runs it quite this way.
In the video below you can see how the action of the offensive line, along with the initial steps by the backs, cause Williams and Urlacher to take what coaches call 'false steps' - it's not a lot, but its enough for the lead fullback (Korey Hall in this instance, one of two fullbacks on this play) and the pulling left guard (Colledge, the only member of the offensive line not invloved in selling the pitch action to the left) to hook the defensive end and weakside linebacker. Unfortuantley, the end of the play shows something that was all too familiar last season - Ryan Grant unable to make the last guy miss. Hopefully, Grant's 'explosiveness' returning is more than coach speak...
Everyone remembers how the Packers ran all over the Bears at Lambeau last year, a result of the Bears being scared to death of the Packers passing attack. Lovie Smith's team came out in a classic Cover 2 shell from the get go and didn't really come out of it until Grant had already rolled up close to 60 yards on 5 carries. Going into Sunday night, the Bears secondary is hurting - badly. Look for the Bears to try and protect their corners by opening in the same Cover 2 shell. If the Packers can take advantage, the Bears will be forced to bring down a safety, which will result in this:
Notice how the offensive line sells the strong side action again. This is something McCarthy seems to have a great knack at calling, setting up defenses and getting them flowing, using their 'keys' against them. In the first video, the linebackers all key on Grant and his first few steps, sending them flowing to the strong side, when the play is designed back to the weakside. Same thing with the play-action pass. The defensive front flows away from where McCarthy wants to put the ball.
The Packers will need to be patient with this Bears team. The addition of Rod Marinelli is no joking matter. For all his deficiencies as a head coach, and there were many, he is a fantastic defensive line coach and could make a great difference in the quality of the Bears play up front on defense. If the Packers can't take advantage of the Bears keeping their safeties back, it could end up being a long night at Lambeau...
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