X-and-O Show: Bears vs. Seahawks

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 Saturday's 29-26 preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field.

Bears on Offense
3rd and 6 at the Chicago 24-yard line. The Bears line up in a three-wide receiver set, with Devin Hester split wide left and RB Matt Forte alone in the backfield. QB Rex Grossman is under center, with WR Brandon Lloyd wide right and WR Earl Bennett in the slot. The Seahawks counter with their nickel package, with four down linemen and LB Lofa Tatupu up on the line between the right end and tackle. CB Marcus Trufant is showing tight bump-and-run coverage on Lloyd, and LB Leroy Hill is alone in the middle of the field three yards behind the line.

QB Rex Grossman
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At the snap, Tatupu blitzes and gives Seattle a five-man rush. LB Julian Peterson rushes off the right edge from the end position and blows past OT John St. Clair. G Roberto Garza blocks down on the defensive tackle even though C Olin Kreutz already has the defender locked up, which gives Tatupu a free run at the quarterback. Hill then blitzes through the same opening. At the same time, Grossman, who apparently doesn't see the blitz coming, drops back five steps. Lloyd runs a quick slant on the outside and is wide open after his break. Grossman, unsure of what to do, holds on to the ball and is hit by Peterson and Tatupu before finally being sacked by Hill. The play goes for a 9-yard loss.

This play demonstrates just how out of sync and overmatched the Bears' offensive line is and most likely will be for the entirety of the season. St. Clair just does not have the footwork to block the quarterback's blind side, while Garza, an eight-year veteran, blows his assignment and gives a good middle linebacker an open path to his QB. This is in addition to Grossman never anticipating the blitz and still taking a five-step drop, giving the play no chance at success. Had he taken two steps and fired the ball to Lloyd across the middle, the play might have gone for a touchdown and nullified the awful job of protection by the line. As a result of plays like these, Kyle Orton will be Chicago's Week 1 starting quarterback.

Bears on Defense
3rd and 5 at the Seattle 48-yard line. The Seahawks line up in a three-wide receiver. QB Charlie Frye is under center, with two receivers to his left and one to his right. FB Leonard Weaver and RB Julius Jones show a pro-set formation before Jones goes in motion wide right. The Bears respond with their nickel package with four down linemen, including Israel Idonije and Anthony Adams at the tackle positions. Linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are four yards off the line.

DT Israel Idonije
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At the snap, Frye drops back to pass. Briggs and Urlacher drop into coverage, leaving only the four-man rush. DE Adewale Ogunleye gets pressure off the edge, forcing Frye to step up into the pocket. At the same time, Idonije uses a stutter step to get leverage on G Rob Sims, while Adams bull rushes through a shaky double team. Idonije muscles his way through Sims' block and reaches the QB just before Adams, dropping Frye for the sack and a six-yard loss.

Besides Tommie Harris, last season's defensive tackles played lackluster at best. It was a huge weakness for the defense and one of the main reasons the Bears ranked 24th in the NFL stopping the run. If Idonije and Adams can continue to play at a high level behind Harris and a healthy Dusty Dvoracek, opposing offenses will have a much harder time running the ball – which could bring this defense back into the elite category.

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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