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Scouting report: Cowboys vs. Bears

I’ve assembled a scouting report based on prior knowledge of the Chicago Bears and after reviewing their game against the Kansas City Chiefs last week.

Bears defense vs. Cowboys offense

The first thing I noticed about the Bears defense against the Chiefs, they stacked the line of scrimmage and dared, practically begged, for the Chiefs to throw the ball. There were times when you could count eight guys actually lined up within a yard of the line of scrimmage, not including the cornerbacks. Now, I don’t know if they would be this aggressive against the Cowboys. The Chiefs don’t have any wide receivers that scare you and Damon Huard seemed unwilling or unable to attack the Bears with intermediate-to-deep passes. This left the Bears free to be very aggressive against the run and to contain Larry Johnson.

Here’s the interesting part, on occasion they did line up in a standard 4-3 alignment and that is when the Chiefs actually had some success. This tells me that the Cowboys should be willing to throw the ball early in the game if the Bears crowd the line of scrimmage. Usually I’m all about establishing the run on a team, but in this case I think the passing game may be the way to go early and try to soften the Bears up. Then, once they aren’t stacking the line we can run our usual mix of offense.

The Bears secondary was harder to get a read on because the Chiefs were very much like the Dolphins on offense. A lot of short quick passes substituting for a running game and to protect Huard from the Bears’ pass rush. CB Nathan Vasher did get beat for a TD when he was very aggressive in jumping the WR’s initial break, then couldn’t catch up when he continued on the pattern. It might be an indication that the Bears’ corners are aggressive and susceptible to double moves if the line can protect Tony Romo long enough to set them up.

The Bears overall defense is very fast and aggressive so the Cowboys might want to think about screens, misdirection and other plays that prey on an aggressive defense. The Chiefs got a few plays like this to work including a flea-flicker that went for a TD but was called back on a formation penalty.

Bears offense vs. Cowboys defense

Chicago likes to run the ball, they like to be physical about it and run right at you. Jay Ratliff against center Olin Kreutz will be a big match-up on the day. Kreutz is good and experienced, unlike the rookie Samson Satele we played last week, so this will be a test for Ratliff. When the Bears run outside they like to do a toss sweep to the back and pull the center and another lineman to lead the way. They also found success against the Chiefs running the ball this way, but it might be harder on the speed of the Dallas defense which is very good against the run. The Bears offensive line was getting the better of the Chiefs in initial burst off the ball and was able to re-establish the line of scrimmage a few yards downfield. Backup RB Adrian Peterson fumbled in their first game and put the ball on the turf again last week although they recovered it. Something to watch for when he’s in the game.

The Chiefs were able to create pressure on Rex Grossman finishing with three sacks on the day and a few more pressures. The Bears struggled picking up blitzes so Dallas has a chance to create some pressure and maybe can get some sacks in the game. Grossman, much like Trent Green last week, was very content to take the short passes and was pretty efficient on those throws, except when he threw two INT’s. One came on an awful pass while trying to set up a screen. Bernard Berrian is a deep threat although they were unable to shake him loose in the game for any long completions. Grossman wasn’t particularly accurate with the long ball either and almost threw some more picks. They tried to get Devin Hester the ball on two WR screens, but neither play worked.

Speaking of Devin Hester, he had one punt return for a TD, another good punt return that set up points, and a third return that went for a TD but was called back for a hold. The Cowboys will be keenly aware of Hester. Wade Phillips said we won’t kick it out-of-bounds all the time because that can lead to "mistake" kicks that only go 15 or 20 yards. The strategy should be for McBriar not to out-kick the coverage and to get as much hangtime as possible on his punts. If they are out in the midfield area, then they can try a directional out-of-bounds punt without risking too much in field position.  


The Bears are an aggressive defense that can create pressure on the QB. They will stack the line for the run and bet on pressure getting to you before you can effectively pass on them. If they try this with the Cowboys (they might not because of our pass offense) then the Cowboys need to soften them up by making them pay. If they drop back into a conventional set, the Cowboys can run the regular offense. They have to protect Romo this week and they have to keep the ball and not turn it over. The Bears offense struggles, so make them work hard for points and don’t set them up in good field position.

On defense, stop the run and force them to rely on Rex Grossman. Attack them with the blitz and make them protect Grossman and be aggressive in covering the check-down receivers. Grossman will throw interceptions if you force him to put the ball in the air enough times. So don’t let them run and be aggressive in going after the QB.

Also, don’t let Devin Hester beat you.

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