Bears training camp only opened Friday and we won’t really have an idea of what is going on with the Bears offense at least until the pre-season games. Nevertheless information on the new Bears offense is already coming to light based upon the few practices they’ve had. John Mullin at CSNChicago.com writes a nice article describing the difference between last years offense. where the receivers had to make sight adjustments based upon the defensive coverage, and the offense this year where such adjustments will be minimal:
“Because receivers are not expected to make myriad ‘sight’ adjustments, they are able to focus on the whole and where their route, as called, fits the ‘concept’ of the play.
“’[Not having to read coverage] allows you to play faster and also to understand the whole concept of what’s going on offensively,” said wide
receiver Earl Bennett. “If you have a route that stays ‘on’ no matter what happens, I’m running my route to either get the ball or to free somebody else up.’”
“Now the receivers have their assignments, quarterback Jay Cutler knows them all and he makes decisions –- fast. The receivers make the concept happen by selling their routes –- hard.
“’If unconsciously you know that you’re not going to get the ball, your shoulders come up, which kills the play,’ Winslow said. ‘Because the moment your shoulders come up, that free safety looks someplace else.
“‘When you’ve got your shoulders down, running your route full speed no matter what the coverage is, maybe one read inside or outside, then it picks up the pace and puts pressure on that safety, who now has to pick somebody, and then your quarterback makes his decision.’”
Presumably not having to worry about sight adjustments will allow the receivers to concentrate more on such details running their routes.
Its also worth noting here that requiring the quarterback and the receivers read the defense the same way in order for everyone to be in the right place is a recipe for disaster in a situation where the quarterback already lacks trust in the receivers. This was rather obviously the case with Cutler last year. Eliminating these adjustments can only help that situation.
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune also wrote an interesting article on the possibility that we may see more read option in the offense this year:
“From the shotgun formation with an offset running back, quarterbacks Jay Cutler, Josh McCown and Matt Blanchard have used mesh-point action that would be the starting point for a read-option play. It’s the kind of fake handoff designed to hold the second-level defenders or strong safety just a split second.
“Maybe it’s a sign of things to come in the build-a-Bears offense that Marc Trestman still is supplementing at Olivet Nazarene University.
“The quarterbacks have been running a dash (half roll) off the play fake, moving outside the pocket where a throwing lane should open off play action. When they hand the ball off, it’s an inside zone play much like what the Packers do with Aaron Rodgers on occasion.
“In the progression of a play, the next step would be a zone read for the quarterback, the kind of offense that shook up the NFL last season and sent defensive coaches scurrying to the college level this offseason for answers to stop it.”
“‘I don’t know,’ [back up quarterback Josh] McCown said. ‘We’ll see what happens with it. Obviously, it’s prevalent in our league right now so there are merits to practicing it if anything just to give your defense a look.’”
I have little doubt he could do it but I do very much doubt that the Bears will risk Cutler often by making him run the read option. Nevertheless, it is an interesting wrinkle to look for in what promises to be a more than usually interesting pre-season and season.