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soulman

While the League Zigs, the Bears Will Zag in 2020

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While the League Zigs, the Bears Will Zag in 2020

212bf710fe9dfd56c9762bf769cdf891?s=16&d= Andrew Dannehy | April 28th, 2020

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“When They Zig, You Zag”

-Siimon Reynolds


The Zag.

As the rest of the National Football League tries to get faster, the Chicago Bears added a 260-pound tight end with their first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Then they raved about his potential as a blocker.

The Bears are doing something very different in 2020.

According to Sharp Football, the Bears ran ’12’ personnel – one RB, two TEs and WRs – on just 13 percent of their snaps in 2019 and 17 percent in 2018. The drafting of Cole Kmet with the 43rd pick was a clear indication that the Bears are going to use the second tight end more. Way more.

After making the pick, GM Ryan Pace raved about Kmet’s all-around ability. He spoke about his size, hands and ability to “post up” and get position. But where Pace really got excited was talking about run blocking. “He’s got the frame and the size, the temperament and the demeanor where we think he’s going to get a lot better as a blocker,” Pace said.

In many ways, the drafting of Kmet was a commitment to a different style of offense, one that will surely feature running back David Montgomery more.

Playing Big.

The Bears didn’t play big in 2019 because they couldn’t succeed that way.

They didn’t have a single, good tight end.

The team passer rating in ’12’ personnel was below 70 and they averaged fewer than four yards per carry. The hope is that Kmet’s ability as a blocker and a receiver makes ’12’ personnel package dangerous.

 

We have seen this work in the same scheme. Doug Pederson’s Philadelphia Eagles used ’12’ on 54 percent of their snaps in 2019. Carson Wentz had a passer rating of 99.2 and they averaged 4.2 yards per carry. Zach Ertz. Dallas Goedert.

Attack the Weakness.

NFL defenses are adjusting to the speed of the Kansas City Chiefs and the continuously more spread offenses by getting smaller and quicker. The Bears appear to be shifting their scheme in order to attack this new weaknesses.

Specifically, if you look in the NFC North, the Packers allowed a passer rating of 114.3 and 4.5 yards per carry against ’12’ according to Sharp Football. The Vikings allowed a passer rating of 102.8 and the Lions 101.9. In three wide, one tight end sets, the Packers allowed a passer rating of 77.9, the Vikings, 89.7 and the Lions 96.5.

Throughout the league, 20 teams allowed a higher passer rating against ’12’ than they did against ’11’. League wide, teams had a passer rating of 97.4 playing in ’12’, compared to 89.3 in ’11’.

In addition to Kmet and Graham, the Bears have Demetrius Harris as another option. Harris has a rare combination of size (6’7”) and speed (4.53 40), but his best trait is actually his blocking. It isn’t hard to see scenarios in which the Bears use Kmet and Harris (or all three) in short-yardage situations. “We think (Kmet) pairs really well with Jimmy and pairs really well with Demetrius. They all do different things,” Pace said.

Kmet just turned 21 last month and is only scratching the surface of what he can become. The expectations shouldn’t be too high because rookie tight ends usually struggle. But the Bears didn’t draft him to sit on the bench.

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Are they zagging?  

49ers, Detroit, MN, NE, Titans, Ravens, and now GB have all tried to create power or dynamic run games of late.

 

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I think Honey Badger tweeted out that he feels like only a few teams with elite QBs will go spread passing attacks.  

Rest of league will try to get by with old school football again.

 

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I think that won't work unless you do as Ravens are doing.

You can't truly have a great running game without a great passing game unless the QB is also a runner.  Otherwise you are playing 10 on 11 and defense can always bring one more than you can block.

Reason power running is working for a few is because few teams are doing it and defenses are going nickel and dime as a base and drafting to same.   GB defensively matched up well with spread passing teams, but couldn't hang with a power team like 49ers.   It was just a bad draw.   

If many teams go back to power running it won't have any real benefit.   You can stop most running teams where QB isn't a threat to run with 1 or 2 huge bodies inside and gap discipline across the board.  Especially now that you can't cut those inside guys like Denver used to with their zone scheme.  

 

 

 

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Now I have said for decades that what Ravens did last year can work in NFL if a team commits to it and doesn't care if the Qb gets hurt.  

They had one bad game at a bad time against a fantastic defensive game plan, but dominated most of season.  But there are ways around that game plan.

You have to go back and study 70s college football.  They saw it all.  

 

 

 

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Size isn't solely used to build a dominant running game. The Bears are going with a possession-style receiver group which runs counter to the trend of looking for WRs with elite speed. They're putting together a basketball team.

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2 hours ago, dll2000 said:

I think that won't work unless you do as Ravens are doing.

You can't truly have a great running game without a great passing game unless the QB is also a runner.  Otherwise you are playing 10 on 11 and defense can always bring one more than you can block.

Which I thought was a proponent of drafting Trubisky was his athleticism. Nagy utilized it first year and then gave up. Forced him to sit in the pocket for some reason.

Foles fits the pocket passer mold better obviously, but probably won't be a substantial upgrade. Why not add another dimension to the O?

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Any style of offence can work in the NFL...it just needs a focus...draft and sign players who fit that specific offence...don't take a 300lbs OL and ask him to play in a power man scheme...if you want power draft huge linemen...if you want to play west cost offence don't draft a 5'9" WR...find a scheme...draft the players for that scheme...NE showed that for years with Brady.

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The Bears only really made moves on offense at TE this offseason.

The line got a little bigger/more physical with Ifedi, but that is hardly a major move.

 

I think the article is correct the only thing we know for sure is that they are going to go 2 TEs more often as the most significant moves came there

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Madmike90 said:

Any style of offence can work in the NFL...it just needs a focus...draft and sign players who fit that specific offence...don't take a 300lbs OL and ask him to play in a power man scheme...if you want power draft huge linemen...if you want to play west cost offence don't draft a 5'9" WR...find a scheme...draft the players for that scheme...NE showed that for years with Brady.

Well said and I'll add one more thing.

Figure out what you can do well with the personnel you have then practice and learn to execute it to perfection.  That's how Belichick and a 6th round draftee QB have succeeded so well and it's also the guts of Lombardi football.  Vince only had about 15-20 plays in his schemes and teams virtually knew what he'd do and when.  He didn't care.  He just ran the plays and dared you to stop them.  As an offense we do not execute well at all.

Edited by soulman

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18 hours ago, soulman said:

Well said and I'll add one more thing.

Figure out what you can do well with the personnel you have then practice and learn to execute it to perfection.  That's how Belichick and a 6th round draftee QB have succeeded so well and it's also the guts of Lombardi football.  Vince only had about 15-20 plays in his schemes and teams virtually knew what he'd do and when.  He didn't care.  He just ran the plays and dared you to stop them.  As an offense we do not execute well at all.

It'd be nice for once to see the Bears offense dictate the game instead of taking what they're given.

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2 hours ago, The_Romen said:

It'd be nice for once to see the Bears offense dictate the game instead of taking what they're given.

Amen brother, amen.

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On 4/29/2020 at 1:35 PM, abstract_thought said:

Size isn't solely used to build a dominant running game. The Bears are going with a possession-style receiver group which runs counter to the trend of looking for WRs with elite speed. They're putting together a basketball team.

Well now the Graham signing makes more sense!

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On 4/29/2020 at 12:35 PM, abstract_thought said:

Size isn't solely used to build a dominant running game. The Bears are going with a possession-style receiver group which runs counter to the trend of looking for WRs with elite speed. They're putting together a basketball team.

  Explosive plays have been key to football since football.

Possession players are nice, but they aren’t what separates you.

You want momentum changers on your team like Jimmy Johnson used to say.   

 

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