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How did Hester beat the Vikings deep? Let's take a look

Using video to talk protection schemes and play action vs. Cover 1. Matt Bowen

Print This October 17, 2011, 10:40 AM EST

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Let’s go back to the Bears’ 39-10 win last night vs. the Vikings at Soldier Field and talk route schemes, protection and play action.

One of the main issues coming out of Chicago’s Monday night loss at Detroit last week was the lack of the vertical passing game. Why did that change last night? Max-protection and a route concept designed to test the free safety in the middle of the field.

Check out the replay and then we can talk some quick coaching points…

- The Bears have Regular personnel (2 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB) on the field vs. the Vikings base 4-3 front playing Cover 1 (man-free).

- Field position. As a defensive player, you must know where you are on the field. First down situation with the ball in between the 40’s, look for a deep shot. This is where the offense wants to stretch the field.

- Protection and play action are the keys. The Bears use the play fake off the Lead Open look with the TE staying in to create max protection (8-man protection). That leaves Jay Cutler with time to work the 2-man deep route down the field. Read deep to short and work the top of the defense.

- The route scheme is basic here. A deep dig route (square-in) to the open (weak) side of the formation with Hester running the post. (Can be called an “NCAA” route concept).

- Go back to the route stem from Hester. The Vikings want their corners to play a “bail” technique (off-man, open hips and sink vs. vertical release). However, that slight stick to the outside from Hester forces the corner to widen—and that creates separation.

- Where is the FS? That’s why you run the dig route from the open side.  An inside breaking route in front of the FS will hold him from opening his hips and getting back to the post.

We aren’t looking at complex football here from Martz’s playbook. However, when you give the QB time and use a route scheme that is designed to put stress on the CB and the FS playing Cover 1, the vertical game comes back into play. Use field position, play action and max protection to get the ball to your weapons outside of the numbers.

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