X-and-O Show: Bears vs. Chiefs

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 for the Chicago Bears from Thursday's 24-20 preseason loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Soldier Field.

Bears on Defense
Second quarter. 1st and 10 at the Kansas City 27-yard line. The Chiefs line up in a power-I left, with two tight ends stacked on the right end of the line and QB Damon Huard under center. RB Jamaal Charles is five yards deep in the backfield, with WR Devard Darling split left. The Bears counter with four down lineman and three linebackers. Safeties Kevin Payne and Brandon McGowan are positioned on the left side of the line of scrimmage, across from the two tight ends.

DE Alex Brown
Jeff Roberson/AP Images

At the snap, Huard fakes a handoff to Charles and drops back to pass. Darling runs a crossing route but CB Nathan Vasher does not follow him, indicating zone coverage. DE Alex Brown rushes hard off the edge, but as soon as he sees Charles enter his area, he lets up and stands his ground. DT Anthony Adams rushes hard up the middle, and after a second is let go by the opposing center. The rest of the O-linemen follow suit with each then sprinting to the flat, indicating a screen pass. Charles is waiting in the flat for the pass, but Brown's presence, as well as those of LBs Brian Urlacher and Jamar Williams, both of whom recognized the screen, makes Huard pause as he's about to throw the ball. This gives Adams enough to time to get his hands on the QB and take him down for the sack.

This play illustrates why Brown deserves to be the starting defensive end and not Mark Anderson. Odds are, Anderson would have continued to rush the quarterback without recognizing the screen. Charles would have then been open to receive the pass with blockers in front of him. Instead, Brown sees the play as it is developing, holds his ground and forces Huard to take the sack. It's this type of veteran play that demonstrates Brown's value to this defense and how much better a unit they are when he's on the field.

Bears on Offense
Second quarter. 2nd and 22 at the Kansas City 28-yard line. The Bears line up in a four-receiver set, with TEs Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark bunched left and WRs Devin Hester and Earl Bennett bunched right. QB Kyle Orton is under center, with RB Matt Forte six yards behind him. The Chiefs counter with a base 4-3 with no defenders lined up individually on the receivers, indicating zone coverage.

TE Desmond Clark
Nam Y. Huh/AP Images

At the snap, Orton takes a five-step drop and looks to pass. The offensive line smothers the opposing rushers, and Orton has a huge pocket from which to throw. Olsen and Clark criss-cross at the line, with Olsen heading to the flat and Clark running upfield. Hester and Bennett also cross, with Bennett running an underneath route through the shallow middle. This causes a brief hesitation by LB Patrick Thomas, who momentarily stops his coverage drop to pick up Bennett. Clark runs past Thomas about 10 yards down the field and turns towards the QB. Orton fires a bullet to Clark, who makes the catch, breaks a tackle and gains a few extra yards before being taken down. The play goes for a 12-yard gain.

This play demonstrates a couple of positives for the offense. The first is Ron Turner's willingness to use a four-wide receiver bunch set on both sides of the field – a formation I can't ever remember seeing him use before. This type of creative play-calling is what this offense, which is void of any true playmakers, needs. The second is the fact that Clark has obviously not taken a step back and will again be a big asset this year. With him and Olsen on the field at the same time, opposing linebackers and safeties will have a hard time covering both of them. If the duo can perform like they did last year, than the Bears' dearth of quality wideouts may not affect the offense as much as most think.

Jeremy Stoltz is a staff writer for The Business Ledger, the business newspaper for suburban Chicago. He contributes frequently to Bear Report and BearReport.com.

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