X-and-O Show: Bears vs. Browns

Jeremy Stoltz goes to the film room to break down one offensive snap and one defensive snap for the Chicago Bears from Thursday's meaningless 13-10 loss to the Browns in Cleveland.

Bears on Offense: Olsen Sighting
First quarter. 3rd and 6 at the Cleveland 15-yard line. The Bears line up in a three- receiver set, with QB Todd Collins under center. TE Greg Olsen is on the right edge of the line, with two receivers to his right. WR Johnny Knox is split left, and RB Chester Taylor is alone in the backfield. The Browns employ a nickel defense, with four down linemen and two linebackers. Each receiver has a man just two yards in front of him, indicating man coverage. The linebackers are not showing blitz.

At the snap, Collins drops back to pass. The defense rushes only the front four, which is picked up well by the offensive line. Taylor swings into the left flat, taking a linebacker with him. The right slot receiver, Rashied Davis, runs a quick out pattern. This leaves the middle of the field open for Olsen, who releases from the line immediately. He runs 10 yards straight down the hash mark and is picked up by CB DeAngelo Smith, who is stuck to his inside shoulder. S Larry Asante is the only defender not in man coverage, sitting on the hash mark in front of Olsen, covering the deep middle zone. Olsen uses a quick stutter step, faking a break to the outside. This freezes both Smith and Asante. Smith actually takes a step forward, at which time Olsen runs right past him into the end zone. Collins then delivers a perfect ball over the top for a touchdown.

Rumors have swirled since Mike Martz was named offensive coordinator that Olsen was being shopped by Bears brass as a potential trade candidate. No tight end has ever put up substantial numbers in a Martz offense, which means Chicago's best receiver could be drastically under-utilized. Why? This play is just one more example of the matchup problems Olsen creates for opposing defenses. His combination of size, speed and hands can be nightmarish for secondaries, especially in the red zone. How can any coordinator, no matter his philosophy, ignore that kind of talent? If Martz fails to capitalize on Olsen's abilities, at least around the goal line, it will go down as one of the most egregious wastes of skill this team has ever seen.

DE Jarron Gilbert
Scott Boehm/Getty

Bears on Defense: Coverage Sack
First quarter. 3rd and 1 at the Cleveland 35-yard line. The Browns line up in a four-receiver set, with QB Colt McCoy under center and RB Montario Hardesty alone in the backfield. Three receivers are bunched right just outside of the tackle, while another receiver is split left. The Bears counter with a nickel defense. Four down linemen are supported by two linebackers. S Al Afalava and CB D.J. Moore are directly in front of the bunched receivers.

At the snap, McCoy drops back to pass. The three bunched receivers release from the line, with the outside man going deep, the inside man, Bobby Engram, running an out pattern to the sideline and the middle receiver, TE Evan Moore, running a 5-yard hitch. D.J. Moore picks up Engram. Afalava and LB Kevin Malast bracket the tight end. At the same time, defensive lineman Jarron Gilbert – he was drafted to play tackle but lined up at the right defensive end position – uses a straight bull rush on LT Scott Kooistra. With no receivers open, McCoy tucks the ball and prepares to run, yet Gilbert sheds the blocker and brings the QB down for the sack.

This was a solid job by the backup secondary of taking away each receiver in a bunch formation – not an easy task. Moore is the No. 1 target, as the Browns were just looking to pick up the first down, but Afalava and Malast take that option away. McCoy has no other choice but to run. What is notable on this play is Gilbert lining up at end and actually producing. The former third-round pick, who is known more for his YouTube jump out of pool than his play on the field, was a major disappointment in Chicago, and it got him cut Saturday. Yet this play may have shown another coaching staff that he has enough versatility to warrant a spot on a 53-man roster somewhere, albeit probably more so on a team that runs the 3-4 defense.

Agree? Disagree? Let your voice be heard on our message board RIGHT HERE.

Jeremy Stoltz is the editor-in-chief of The Business Ledger, the business newspaper for suburban Chicago. He is a regular contributor to Bear Report and BearReport.com.

Bear Report Top Stories