Cosell’s Watching: Broncos Offense vs. Bears Defense

Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Greg Cosell, Inside the Game

Editor’s Note:  Greg Cosell is the Executive Producer of NFL Matchup.  To produce each week’s show, Greg watches the same all-22 game tape as the NFL’s coaches and players use in their own preparation.  Check back to TCIPF throughout the week for notes from Greg’s film study sessions.  Here are his observations from Denver’s overtime win over Chicago in Week 14.  Later today: Giants vs. Cowboys.

  • Bears game plan in normal down and distance situations v. base offensive personnel had S Steltz in the box as the 8th defender, Conte as the single high safety only about 10-12 yards from the line of scrimmage
  • Bears at times “man free” in 3rd + long situations: 4 man rush, with one of the LB (Urlacher or Briggs) in position to spy Tebow
  • Bears also “Tampa 2” at times in 3rd + long, both with 4 man DL and 3 man DL rush with 8 in coverage
  • Tebow excellent vision on the move, Ability to defeat 3 and 4 man pressures with his movement and patience outside the pocket

  • “Man free” behind a 4 man rush with Urlacher assigned to Tebow was a Bears foundation defense on 3rddown

    Tim Tebow is hit by Brian Urlacher (AP)

  • Bears unblocked defender in their 8 man front, either S Steltz or LB Briggs, was short-circuiting Broncos base run game
  • At this point Tebow is a one read QB, Not asked to progression read because he’s not yet capable of it
  • Great call by OC McCoy on 2nd play of the 3rd quarter, Deep post to Thomas: McCoy attacked Bears 8 in box, “man free” coverage with single safety Conte aligned shallow (That had been Bears predominant base defense through the 1st half) – Excellent throw by Tebow,Thomas had to make that catch, Would have been a 55 yd TD
  • Tebow primarily an early in the down passer and a late in the down mover; If his primary read is taken away he will move, Then you must defend his improvisational running and throwing ability
  • Broncos had success throwing out of 3×1 sets to the “x iso” receiver, usually Thomas; A defined read for Tebow, especially v. single high safety
  • Broncos more empty sets in the 4th quarter, Played to Tebow’s strengths and better defined Bears defense before the snap
  • Tebow timing and anticipation throw on skinny post to Thomas in the 4th quarter, Thomas dropped the perfect throw but it was another step in the process for Tebow
  • Bears played soft “Tampa 2” on every snap on Broncos late 4th quarter TD drive ; Chicago got no pressure at all with their 4 man rush and the coverage allowed the underneath throws – Bears traded time for yards
  • Bears changed defense with :30 left in regulation,They rushed 5 and played “cover 3” – Excellent throw by Tebow under pressure to Willis 19 yds, “Cover 3” concept allowed Willis to get out of bounds

    Willis McGahee tackled by Amobi Okoye and Israel Idonije (AP)

  • Bears more single high safety coverages in OT, They were burned on 2 completions to Thomas for 10 and 16 yds; The 16 yarder was the big play, It came against backup corner Bowman
  • Bears change in defensive approach was critical in this game – They dominated the Broncos offense playing an aggressive “man free” concept with single high safety Conte 10 yards from the LOS behind a 4 man rush and Urlacher a spy/lurk defender, Then they went to a soft “Tampa 2” concept that did not at all challenge the Broncos offense
  • Tebow made a number of very good pocket throws in the 4th quarter and OT, Clearly a more comfortable player with each game and the more he throws the ball

COMING LATER TODAY: Cosell’s notes on the Giants offense vs. the Cowboys defense.

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