Happy Friday everybody!
Like most football fans, I’ve always been enthralled by the concept of play-calling — the idea that one man pulls the strings behind the actions of 11 superathletes and that, at least in the eyes of many, the very fate of each football game rests on his shoulders and his matchup with the play-caller across from him. Even typing that out gives me chills!
But as cool as the concept of play-calling is, the opaque nature of the role makes it equally frustrating for football fans: “Why can Andy Reid’s team spin around in the huddle and still score touchdowns at will but my team can’t even pick up a 3rd and 1?”
Questions like this are poison for fans of teams with bad offensive or defensive units (like the Broncos, Cardinals, and early-season Bears on offense, Browns, Las Vegas, and the Bears again on defense) and can make fans feel like the football gods are out to get them — for any Chicago fan that lived through the Nagy era, you know the horrible feeling I’m talking about.
So how do we evaluate the Bears’ play-callers in 2023? I aim to do just that with a video series I’ll be running throughout this upcoming season called Dissecting a Drive — once a week, we’ll take a look at a key offensive or defensive drive (some good drives, some bad ones) and go through the ins and outs of each play-call to try and parse out which parts of the offense are a credit to Luke Getsy and which parts of the offense are as simple as good (or bad) players making a good (or bad) play.
In an effort to practice with the new video format, I took a look at an old drive from Week 5’s Bears game against the Vikings — in it, we see:
- A pair of really nice run designs that use pre-snap and at-snap motion to scheme leverage for Chicago’s blockers
- How Justin Fields can make a “wrong” play-call “right” (as well as how he did the opposite)
- A visual example of how important every yard gained or lost is within each 3-down series
- And much, much more
Check it out and let me know what you think!
For those that aren’t looking to watch a 15-minute video on a Friday, here’s are a few segments from the breakdown I think help give a neat picture into the Bears’ offense within the span of two plays:
First off, I loved how Getsy schemed up a light box with great blocking leverage using wide receiver motion on this drive-starting run. Even if Lucas Patrick wasn’t able to hold his block against Danielle Hunter, it’s nice to see design elements like that present in the Bears’ offense — if Getsy can continue creating chances for the Bears’ offensive line to rip off big runs, that’ll help the Bears stay ahead of the chains on offense and put the ball in the end zone that little bit more often.
Second off, former Vikings DC Ed Donatell got Luke Getsy bad on this 2nd and 5, but thanks to Justin Fields the Bears turned a surefire sack into a first down. Fields needs to take steps forward as a thrower, no doubt, but his ability to spin out of danger and pick up double-digit yardage might never cease to amaze me.
Plays like this lead future DCs to do everything from calling less blitzes to intentionally containing Fields within the pocket, creating opportunities for his teammates in both the rushing and passing game. Hopefully the Bears can capitalize on the windows Fields’ legs will open in 2023.
The best part Justin Fields' game is that even when Luke Getsy loses the playcalling battle, Fields' legs can turn "wrong" into "right".
Ed Donatell calls a SWEET blitz, smokes the Bears up front, and that turns into a free 1st down for Chicago.
More at DBB tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/XXgdVh9K5w
— Robert Schmitz (@robertkschmitz) July 20, 2023
Your Turn: What did you think of Luke Getsy’s offense in 2022?