X-and-O Show: Bears vs. Browns

Jeremy Stoltz, our very own Prince of the Playbook, goes to the film room once again and breaks down one offensive snap and one defensive snap from Thursday's preseason loss against the 49ers.

3rd-and-7 on the Bears own 26-yard line, 2:00 left in the first half. Chicago begins its two-minute drill with QB Kyle Orton in shotgun formation. Standing to his right is rookie RB Garrett Wolfe. Receivers are split on both sides with WR Rashied Davis in the left slot position.

At the snap, all three WRs and the TE run deep down the field clearing out the secondary. The Browns come with a three-man rush and get some initial pressure on Orton. Wolfe brushes a lineman to the outside before sneaking through the middle of the line and into the left flat. His two guards and center are there also. Orton, just as the rushing linemen are about to reach him, floats the ball over their heads and into Wolfe's waiting hands executing the screen pass perfectly. All three of the offensive linemen clear out the defenders, and Wolfe makes two nifty cuts before being taken down at the 42-yard line. It's a 16-yard gain and a first down for the Bears.

Offensive coordinator Ron Turner proved to be very wise by calling a screen on third down. Opposing defenses are very likely to blitz on third-and-long, and defensive linemen, who know it's going to be a pass, are going to rush hard at the QB. Knowing this to be true, Orton does a great job of enticing the linemen downfield so that Wolfe has more room to run.

This is also a great call because it gets Wolfe the ball in open space. At only 5'7" and 185 pounds, Wolfe relies on his quickness and speed – both traits he possesses in spades – to elude defenders. His ability to outmaneuver opponents and leave them utterly grasping at air makes him extra dangerous on a screen pass. I guarantee this won't be the last Wolfe screen we see this year.

RB Garrett Wolfe (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

3rd-and-4 on the Bears 40-yard line, 9:55 left in the first quarter. The Browns line QB Charlie Frye in the shotgun with RB Jason Wright to his left. WR Joe Jurevicius is split wide right with a receiver in the slot to his left. The Bears counter with their nickel defense. CB Ricky Manning Jr. is playing tight coverage on the slot receiver with a safety five yards behind him. There are four down linemen, and none of the three linebackers are showing blitz.

Just before the snap of the ball, Jurevicius slowly motions inside until he is directly behind the slot receiver. The safety follows and is stationed just behind Manning at the snap of the ball. Manning jams the slot man as he crosses the line of scrimmage but passes off the receiver to the safety as soon as he sees Jurevicius running a quick-out pattern. Manning swarms Jurevicius as the ball, which is overthrown, sails out of bounds over their heads.

On this play, the safety would have never been able to cover Jurevicius' out pattern because of how deep he was playing. Manning does a great job of recognizing this and passing off his slot receiver so he can cover the flats. Because of this smart decision, both receivers are accounted for.

The reason that the pass was overthrown was because of the pressure put on the passer. LE Adewale Ogunleye and DT Darwin Walker run a crossing stunt at the outset of the play. Ogunleye crashes inside as Walker swings outside. This confuses the offensive linemen, allowing the rushers to get penetration into the face of the QB, who has no angle to throw an accurate pass.

Jeremy Stoltz is an Associate Editor for Chicago Sports Weekly. He is a regular contributor to Bear Report and BearReport.com.

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