There were plenty to choose from in this category in the Bears second preseason game versus the Arizona Cardinals this past Saturday evening. There would have been even more had the first team quarterback play been better, but we’ll get to that in the bad section of the article.
We start at the very first play of the game on offense. Followed by an excellent return by Benny Cunningham setting the Bears up at their 45 yard line, the Bears execute a run play to the right side out of 22 personnel.
At the snap, Mike Glennon hands off to Tarik Cohen in motion to the right side and he accelerates impressively along the sideline in the right flat of the field for 16 yards showing good speed, vision and quickness as well as power finishing that run off with authority!
On the play everyone had a hat on a hat and did their jobs. Cameron Meredith made a great block on the safety riding him out of bounds and out of the play. Kevin White had his man locked up with impressive authority and it looks like White and Meredith will be key members of the running game springing backs for extra yards. White especially blocks with violence and anger downfield. The key block on the play was Josh Sitton’s reach block turning the Cardinal Defensive Tackle around and out of the play that gave Cohen the corner. Dion Sims with an excellent block on the Edge rusher and Bobbie Massie got to the second level well to get the Left inside Linebacker. Another key block was by Hroniss Grasu showing his strength of athleticism, quickness, and agility getting to the second level and blocking the Right Inside Linebacker who had a bead on Cohen and may have tackled him sooner had the block not been made. As you can see there’s nothing but open green on the edge and Cohen gets there fast.
If you saw the Bears 2nd preseason game you don’t need me to tell you how well the Bears ran the ball with their first team. Here is a 25-yard play that once again is blocked very well. The only issue I have with the play is either White did not sell a decoy route to keep his man out of the play or the design did not account for that, but given the success of the play that would be nit picking at its highest form.
Bears are in 11 personnel once more. White is set up outside on the right side of the formation at Split End (X) with Wright and Meredith on the left as the slot (Y) and Flanker (Z). Cohen set up 5 yards behind center.
At the snap, Cohen gets the hand off to the right side and does an excellent job of waiting for the bocking to develop showing excellent patience and once there’s an opening woosh, he turns on the jets with powerful strides. The right side of the line blocks it exceptionally well. Grasu, Sitton, and Massie just road grade the way bullying the Cardinal defenders. On this play, Mathieu makes an excellent read and explodes into the backfield on the backside and Sim’s man shed Sim’s block and both get their hands on Cohen at about the same time, but those powerful little strides of his powers him through those tackle attempts and he then explodes for another 17-18 yards after for a 25 yard total gain. He wasn’t done there either. He also spins out of another tackle for an additional 8-10 yards and eventually gets forced out of bounds. You also see White again locking up on Peterson who shows zero willingness to match White’s physicality. It’s becoming clear that when the Bears run they usually have White on the play side.
There is no way around it. Glennon stood out as the weak link of the offense again. As far as weak links are concerned the Quarterback position is, without doubt, the position you want furthest from your weakest link. It’s where you want to be at your strongest as the position is the maestro of the offense coordinating each player like a conductor coordinates his musicians.
On this play even on a simple smoke route, or as most of you know it as a bubble route,is executed poorly by Glennon. The Bears are in Standard 11 Personnel (1TE/1 HB) with Meredith on the strong side of the formation (The side with the Tight End) and Wright and White on the weak side about a yard apart and up on the line of scrimmage and Cohen at Glennon’s left hip.
The design of the play was very good, but executed poorly with it’s timing. You can tell this other than seeing the failed results by how long Cody Whitehair stayed back in his block before he takes off downfield. You can tell there was a short delayed implemented in this play, but looks like Glennon was too anxious to get rid of the ball and shows zero anticipation on the play. Also, Kendall right went to his secondary block way too soon essentially allowing Tyrann Mathieu to get to White before he had a chance to square his shoulders and turn upfield with speed and power to give the play a chance to succeed. At the snap of the ball Cohen runs past Glennon on a play fake holding the linebackers and safeties to give the delay a chance to work. It was also meant to give Leno a chance to get out there to put a block on the safety but with Wright not blocking Mathieu longer and Glennon throwing the ball too soon Leno did not have a chance to get there.
The end result, a 3-yard loss with the tackle made by the safety who was unblocked! If only Glennon waited for just a second longer and Wright put a block on Mathieu before he goes to his secondary block, you can see there is no one to stop White upfield anytime soon. Whitehair was the one player involved on the play other than the receiver who executed it with proper trimming and anticipation as you see him getting out to the Inside Linebacker at the right time and getting him blocked.
In the next play, you can see just how bad Glennon’s vision downfield really is and how fixated he is on throwing the ball to Meredith. You also see his inaccuracy downfield. This pass is especially dangerous as most out routes are as if your timing &/or accuracy is off just by a little and a Defensive Back jumps the route that’s 6 the other way as there is nothing but open green directly to the end zone. If not for Meredith getting a hand out there to knock down ball down that’s exactly what the result would have been.
Bears are in 01 personnel even though Zach Miller is on the field he is essentially playing in the slot as a Flex Tight End which pretty much makes him a Pseudo Wideout and there is no Tight end on the line identifying the strong side of the formation. So essentially a 4 Wide Receiver set,one Half back.
As the play develops,Glennon never takes his eyes off of Meredith. On the same side of the field, Miller cuts off his route underneath on a short out and is wide open, but with Glennon’s tunnel vision he misses him even though he breaks free right in front of him. On the other side which he never even looks in the direction Meredith and White haven’t even completed their routes and White looks like he’s going against one on one coverage on the outside. Meanwhile, Cohen goes out on a route along the seam as the check-down against an ILB. All would have been better options.
Here you see why this was the worst option and one made worse by telegraphing the pass by never taking his eyes off of Meredith. It was an easy read for the cornerback who had Meredith covered through the entire route. You also see the woeful accuracy as the ball is thrown drastically late and behind Meredith. If not for the awareness and long arms of Meredith to reach out and bat that ball down that would have been a gift touchdown for the Cardinal defense.
Just as a disclaimer,I am not trying to pick on Glennon. I wish he were a competent Quarterback so that Trubisky could have a red shirt season and resume as the starter from the off season on next year. However, Glennon seems to be the one major difference in this offense actually being an explosive one or being a one trick pony. To show just how much I don’t want to pile on I won’t even discuss the awful INT. We all know what that was. On this play it shows again that Glennon has a one track mind and that is throw to Meredith when going downfield. Not just that but stare him down ignoring all your other reads missing better options and positive plays along the way.
The Ugly is the Quarterback controversy that is brewing between Glennon and Trubisky. Even more ugly is the apparent coddling of a 27-year-old veteran player both in his play calls and his team status. It’s pretty clear for most people to see that Trubisky is the better player and gives the Bears the best chance right now! People will argue that Trubisky needs more seasoning and better mastery of the offense as well as his fundamentals and how to go about a game week with film study and game planning. All very valid points, but even given that he still is the clear and obvious starter between those two. Also, there are some who believe that live action this soon for Trubisky against what appears to be a tough start to the early season schedule may ruin him and leave him susceptible to injury &/or permanently affect his Physique going forward.
Laurence Holmes of the score 670 am sports talk radio host compared it to the difference being between David Carr and his brother Darreck Carr. One being ruined by being constantly pounded into the turf playing behind an awful offensive line. He also went on to say that we as Bears fans should use the Cutler situation as an example of how Quarterbacks see ghosts from taking such a pounding.
Now, this I feel is a valid concern with some players. Like you worry about a guy like Paxton Lynch in Denver or the current Bears starter Glennon as they seem to be extremely mentally fragile. With Trubisky I don’t see that as the case. I see the kid as through adversity with flying colors. Also, the Bears have a rock solid offensive line with very good depth as well. I don’t see some physical assault on the kid the way it was for Cutler when he came over in a trade with Denver 9 years ago.
I also feel game action gives the young franchise Quarterback a chance to accelerate his development and bring the Bears to the SuperBowl conversation sooner than if he sits for most or all of the 2017 season. It’s clear he has the right support system in place to help a young Quarterback through the early portions of the season until he becomes more familiar with the offense and the league. One thing is clear no matter what side you stand on the debate, First team reps in the third preseason game will do him a lot more good than bad.