Dan Pompei had this comment in last week’s Sunday Blitz at the National Football Post that stuck in my mind:
“Some people around the league are anticipating some interesting game planning and scheming early in the season, more so than normally is the case. Why? Coaches have more time on their hands this offseason than usual without players to coach. Bill Belichick, for instance, tells me he has been spending some of his extra time studying opponents.”
I bring it up because Bears head coach Lovie Smith confirms that the Bears coaches are also spending the extra time studying film in this video from ESPNChicago.com.
This all strikes me as significant.
The lockout is going to give certain teams more of an advatange than others. For instance, everyone agrees that this time off is killing teams with new coaches who are bringing in new systems. This may be another case of that.
Its great that Lovie Smith is spending time looking at film. But they don’t exactly play fancy, “make a lot of adjustments and do something clever” defense in Chicago. As former NFL safety Matt Bowen put it very well, again for NFP:
“Teach landmarks, run-pass keys and specific techniques that apply to the front seven and the secondary. The rest? Just play football. The exact theory behind the Tampa 2 scheme under Tony Dungy and what we see today in Chicago with Lovie Smith.”
On the other hand, as Pompei points out, this could be huge for teams like the Patriots and, I’m sorry to say it, the Packers. Dom Capers looks to me like he could do good things with this time off.
Its possible that Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz might be able to sit down and think of some more interesting things to do against upcoming opponents. But that doesn’t help the Bears without an offense that can execute to make those ideas a reality.
All and all I think the Bears strength as a team is in thier fundamentals on defense. And you can’t work on those without players no matter how much opponents film you study.