Bears-Giants: three routes to learn from

Watching the Bears-Giants game, I wanted to focus on the secondary play from both teams to highlight some techniques and schemes to breakdown. And I see three situations that we can take from this preseason matchup in August to talk some Xs and Os.

Let’s check them out…

Jay CutlerICONCutler connected with Hester down the field vs. the Giants Cover 2 scheme.

Cutler to Hester: Big play from the Bears down the field in the vertical game vs. the Giants Cover 2. We talk about the Tampa 2 scheme often (part of every defensive playbook in the NFL) and the routes designed to test the top of the defense never change. With Hester getting an easy outside release (CB is taught to jam and force inside release), the Bears run two vertical routes at safety Kenny Phillips. The Giants safety took the “eye candy” of the inside vertical and this opens up a nice hole down the sideline that goes for 37-yards to Hester.

Manning to Cruz: The Giants had a 4th down situation and caught the Bears playing Cover 1 (man-free). With Victor Cruz aligned as the No.2 receiver to the open side of the formation, New York went with a “wheel” concept (think quick “out and up” here). Tough situation for Bears CB D.J. Moore. He is playing with an outside shade, but loses leverage when this plays out almost like a “pick” situation. Add in the throw from Manning (with Moore now in a trail position), and it is tough for the DB to find the ball. Good call, smart route scheme and a solid throw from the QB.

Carr to Hixon: Two routes you must stop inside of the 5-yard line as a DB in the NFL: the slant and fade. Here, we see the fade from the Giants. Hixon wins at the line and breaks to the back corner of the end zone vs. Bears CB Corey Graham. Difficult spot for a DB? Without question. Don’t look back at the QB, work up through the hands of the WR and play the pocket. But when you are beat at the line, you will have a hard time recovering in this league.

Some quick notes from the game…

-The ACL injury to Giants CB Terrell Thomas is blow for this defense. Need numbers in the secondary, and with rookie Prince Amukamara out already with a foot injury, the CB position is something to keep an eye on in New York.

- The Bears O-Line? Improved from last week. Not ready for regular season play yet, but we saw a better unit vs. the Giants.

- Cutler targeted Roy Williams early. But the new WR has to catch the football. Missed on two 3rd down situations: the deep curl and the slant.

- The move New York RB Brandon Jacobs put on Chicago safety Major Wright in the red zone? Smooth feet for a big man. Poor angle from Wright coming down to make a play.

- I’m shocked with the Bears special teams. This is one of the top units in the NFL. What did we see vs. the Giants? Below average kick coverage and a punt that was blocked. Not good enough for their talent level.

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