Found June 21, 2012 on
There has been a lot of talk about the weakness of the Chicago Bears' offensive line in protection and how bad J'Marcus Webb is. There has been a smattering of discussion about Mike Martz and the seven step drops and no audibles.
The strong majority of the discussion focuses on how bad J'Marcus Webb is as an offensive tackle. While it is true that Webb has struggled as an OT, I wanted to examine a play from the New Orleans Saints game where the fault of the sack falls directly on the shoulders of Mike Martz and the inability to audible at the line of scrimmage, and not enough protection and the seven step drop.
To show what precisely I'm talking I'm bringing in a video clip (shot from my cell phone so it's not the best quality but you can see enough to diagnose the problems) from the game that has two angles, the All-22 angle and the end-zone view from behind the Bears.
The video is embedded here:
In this video the situation is third and 15, and I must preface this by saying obviously there are not a lot favorable plays that can be called on third and 15.
In this play however Martz doesn't even give Cutler a chance to make the play. The strict code of how Martz's offense should be followed is on display here and as a result Cutler takes a hit.
What we see is the Bears in their posse personnel (3WR 1 TE 1RB) with Kellen Davis in the slot, rather than aligned in tight.
The Saints are in an overload blitz look which is a classic blitz call from Gregg Williams.
Matt Bowen even talks about the Saints' blitz strategy on defense in this Chicago Tribune article the week leading up to the game.
The Saints want to create confusion with their overload look in embedded video clip and they do a great job of it a lot of the time. However it's something the Bears should be game planning for and KNOW is going to happen throughout the course of the football game.
In the video we see the Saints with a linebacker in the B-gap, a linebacker covering Davis and another linebacker and a safety aligned to Cutler's right. The overload look comes from Cutler's right where the Saints are showing blitz. The disguise comes from Fujita who is aligned over Kellen Davis in coverage.
As Cutler progresses through his cadence, suddenly Fujita shows blitz rather than coverage. The Bears are shifting right to deal with the overload look, leaving Fujita free to deck Cutler.
The line call is correct, in the shift to the right to deal with the overload, what isn't correct however is the miss of a hot read and the seven step drop.
Cutler isn't even given a chance to see Fujita because he's up under center and Fujita is in Cutler's peripheral vision. If Cutler is back in the shot gun and is rolling through cadence he sees Fujita show blitz and can normally adjust accordingly.
Not in the Mike Martz offense however, as there are six blockers to deal with seven rushers and Cutler eats dirt before at step five of his seven step drop.
From the Tribune article here is the key to this blitz and many of the other blitzes that the Saints utilized under Gregg Williams
No matter what Martz has called in this situation, the Bears have to check to a hot read at the line of scrimmage. The receivers will convert their routes and give Cutler the opportunity to unload the ball before the pressure gets home. If the Bears stick with a seven-step drop or a multiple-breaking route concept versus this blitz, Cutler will end up on the ground.
Pretty emphatic statement coming from Matt Bowen in this article. "no matter what Martz has called" what Martz has called is the seven step drop and long deep developing patterns and the Saints are in off-set coverage, knowing precisely what the Bears have in mind.
What will change in 2012 under Mike Tice remains to be seen. A safe guess would be to think that THIS type of play will be eliminated from the play book and Cutler will have the freedom to audible and he'll see more of the field being in the shot gun.
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