Chicago Bears: Countering Two-Man Coverage Against Brandon Marshall

By Dominique Blanton
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Chicago Bears faced the Green Bay Packers, the Packers secondary effectively shut down Brandon Marshall and the rest of the Bears wide receivers. Dom Capers threw two-man coverage against Marshall by appointing cornerback Tramon Williams to trail Marshall wherever he’s at on the field and to keep a safety over the top.

What’s two-man coverage? Here’s a brief description by National Football Post Matt Bowen on what the coverage most teams use to shutdown team’s number one wide receiver is…

“Two-deep shell with the underneath defenders playing a “trail-man” technique (sit low to the inside hip). Given the deep half help over the top, DBs will sit on inside breaking concepts (Dig, Curl, Post) and cut routes that break outside the numbers (Out, Comeback).”

When the Bears face the Packers this Sunday, Capers is going to throw two-man coverage at Marshall and for good reason, the Bears don’t have much outside of Marshall. The rest of the Bears receivers need to step it up this Sunday.

One way the Bears can counter the Packers two-deep shell look against Marshall is attacking the middle of the field. Offensive coordinator Mike Tice can put rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery in the slot and attack the middle of the field with four routes.

The out route (5 route) where you’re testing the linebackers zone coverage responsibilities; the post route (8 route) where you’re giving the safety a tough decision to cover the outside receiver or help his CB with Jeffery, align Jeffery inside from Marshall and run the corner route (7 route), or a simple fade route (9 route).

I feel those are some routes the Bears can use to try and exploit the Packers secondary. With Jeffery in the slot and Marshall and Devin Hester on the outside, the safeties will be occupied with two guys that can stretch the field with their size (Marshall) and speed (Hester). That leaves Jeffery with one-on-one coverage against nickleback Casey Hayward most of the game; a match-up he’s capable of winning.

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