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 for the Chicago Bears from Thursday's 16-10 preseason win over the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Bears on Defense
First quarter. 2nd down and goal at the Chicago 6-yard line. The Browns line up in a power-I formation, with QB Brady Quinn under center and FB Lawrence Vickers and RB Jerome Harrison stacked in the backfield. TE Steve Heiden is on the left end of the line, with WR Donte Stallworth wide left. The Bears counter with a base 4-3. Both cornerbacks, Charles Tillman and Nathan, Vasher are showing bump-and-run. Before the snap, Stallworth goes in motion across the field and Vasher follows him, indicating man coverage.

LB Hunter Hillenmeyer
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At the snap, Quinn turns from center but runs into Stallworth, who hasn't cleared the QB. Vickers and Harrison start right, with the entire offensive line blocking hard right. Quinn recovers and is able to get the handoff to Harrison. At the same time, Vasher, linebackers Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher and Hunter Hillenmeyer, as well as SS Kevin Payne, commit to the weak side, leaving a gaping cutback hole. Right end Alex Brown does not keep contain and gets filtered into the mass of bodies. Harrison makes a quick cutback and gets around Brown to the outside. He takes off for the corner, but S Brandon McGowan is able to run him down from the far side of the field at the 1-yard line.

This play is just one of many examples throughout the past two games that show how unprepared and sloppy this defense is playing right now. Every single player except for McGowan instantly pursues to the play side. No one keeps back-side containment. Even though Quinn runs into his own receiver, creating a broken play, the defense can't take advantage of it and it allows Harrison an enormous cutback lane. Payne and Vasher both rush right into the backs of the defensive linemen. Luckily for the defense, McGowan didn't get caught up in pursuit and is able to make a TD-saving tackle from the far side of the field. This defense needed to show some cohesiveness in the final preseason game, and they failed considerably. It's now up to defensive coordinator Bob Babich to get this group refocused and ready for the regular season.

Bears on Offense
Second quarter. 1st and 10 at the Cleveland 23-yard line. The Bears break the huddle with a three-wide receiver set and QB Caleb Hanie in the shotgun. RB Garrett Wolfe is to his left, with two wide receivers on the right and WR Mark Bradley split left. Rookie TE Kellen Davis is on the right end of the line. The Browns use their nickel package, with all three cornerbacks playing up on the receivers and indicating man coverage. LB Kris Griffin is standing on the left end of the line, showing blitz. Just before the snap, the strong safety creeps up toward the line, presumably to cover Davis.

WR Mark Bradley
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At the snap, Griffin blitzes off the left edge and gets past a half-hearted block from rookie T Kirk Barton. Davis runs a go pattern down the right hash, which occupies both the strong safety and FS Travis Key. At the same time, Bradley uses a quick stutter step to get past CB Travis Daniels and then streaks down the left sideline. Hanie, who is under pressure from Griffin, takes a step back and lets fly a perfect touch pass in stride to Bradley, who keeps both feet in bounds before crossing the end line. The play goes for a touchdown but is called back by way of a holding penalty.

This was the sixth pass in a row from Hanie to Bradley, so it's a little surprising the free safety wasn't rolling in that direction. Yet it is still a difficult pass for Hanie, who has to throw off his back foot because of the pressure. I'm not sure if either Kyle Orton or Rex Grossman could make the same throw in the same situation. Let's not forget that Hanie was the most accurate quarterback in Colorado State history last year, completing 64 percent of his passes, and his ability to recognize the blitz and get the ball out quickly and accurately is very un-rookie like. It should give Bears coaches and fans some comfort to know that the third quarterback is not just filling a roster spot but, if pressed into duties, could actually perform at an acceptable level. His development throughout the year is something that bears watching.

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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