Detroit Lions Film Room: Beating Chicago’s Cover 2 Defense


Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the Chicago Bears have a new coaching staff this year the defense they play will likely look very familiar to most Detroit Lions fans. While Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli are now gone, new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker spent the offseason adapting his scheme and terminology to fit what the Bears were running while Smith was in town. That means a steady dose of Cover 2 with safeties playing deep and the middle linebacker running down the middle of the field. The Bears like to get pressure with just their front four, but with Henry Melton going down for the year with a torn ACL I’ll be interested to see whether or not this forces the Bears to bring an extra rusher from time to time.

A Cover 2 defense is schemed to limit the underneath zones and take away the deep throws down the sideline. On the other hand it can be vulnerable to deep passes in the middle of the field. This is where the Lions should be able to attack the Bears on Sunday. And now that Nate Burleson is out with a broken forearm it will be important for other receivers to step up.

Beating Cover 2

During the Lions last meeting at Soldier Field the Lions drew up the perfect Cover 2 beater to get into the red zone.

The Lions come on the field in posse or 11 personnel (3WR-1TE-1RB). In this case Calvin Johnson, Titus Young, and Ryan Broyles at wide receiver. Along with Joique Bell at running back and Tony Scheffler at tight end. The Bears line up with their safeties deep for their cover 2 scheme.

All of receivers run vertical routes except Broyles, who runs a post up the middle. Joique Bell leaks out into the middle of the field and ends up drawing the attention of all three linebackers. This leave a huge hole in the middle of the defense for Broyles to run into.

This is the same type of play the Lions will be able to run this week against the Bears, except this time envision Reggie Bush in backfield instead of Bell. Bush will be able to create the same types of mismatches that he did week one if the Bears decide to leave their two safeties deep. Also look for the Lions to run several screen plays in order to try to keep the defensive ends honest.

The Bears are playing great football right now and are coming off a big win on Sunday Night Football, but if the Lions continue to be patient and take what the defense gives them, they’ll get their shots downfield on Sunday with these types of plays.

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Justin Simon is a Staff Writer for SideLion Report and Editor of Restoring the Roar. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.