Cowboys @ Bears Scouting Report: Defending Against The Chicago Offense

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The Bears have plenty of weapons at the skill positions, but their scoring output is down over the last month. And it's not all on backup QB Josh McCown.

Earlier I took a look at the Bears defense and the way to attack it. Now, I'll do the same for the Bears offense after watching the All-22 film for the Vikings game and combing through some statistics. We still don't know about Jay Cutler playing this week, but from what I've read most people seem to be leaning towards Josh McCown getting another start. I'll go ahead and assume that in this review.

1. The Bears love to throw slants to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey. On third downs, and whenever they feel their offense is starting to bog down, they go to the slant. They will also do some ins and curls, but the slant is a staple. The Cowboys linebackers need to be ready to undercut that play and get to the ball, the defensive ends need to get their hands up if they are not making progress towards the QB.

2. They also love wide receiver screens. Hopefully the Cowboys have done plenty of research on what formations they use for the WR screens because they ran the play 5 or 6 times in the game. They like to get Alshon Jeffrey the ball in pseudo-run situations, sometimes they will just hand it to him on an end around. Cowboys cornerbacks need to diagnose and make tackles on the WR screen.

3. Gap control in the run game. Matt Forte is a little bit of a dancer in the backfield, he'll be very patient in waiting for a hole to open. Dallas' linebackers need to be careful about pursuing upfield too quickly, instead concentrate on filling the holes left by the front four. Keep Forte bottled up with gap control because he shows good vision and patience, but is not particularly special at cuts and making tacklers miss. Stay disciplined.

4. The Bears have a good sweep. One of their better run plays is Forte on a toss sweep. This along with the wide receiver screens means the corners have to be good tacklers in this game.

5. Play it safe on defense. Don't get too concerned about blitzing or trick defenses. Instead, make sure you have safety help over the top for Marshall and Jeffrey and force the Bears to march it downfield in small chunks. When they don't get the big play, their drives often falter, leading to punts or field goals. Be patient on defense, don't sweat the small stuff.

6. Run the ball on offense. This sounds like something for the scouting plan against the Bears defense. But teams have been running the ball lately on the Bears, running and getting big numbers. This has dramatically cut down on the number of turnovers the Bears defense has gotten. As a result the Bears have scored fewer points in the past month. You don't give the offense a short field or let their defense score if you run the ball effectively.

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