I sincerely hope the Bears have a “Plan B” for Sunday night because the Texans plan to take Jay Cutler’s favorite weapon Brandon Marshall out of the picture.
Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips thinks stopping the Bears offense and Marshall is quite simple:
“We double cover him every play,” Phillips said. “That’s our plan. We’re going to double cover him every play.”
You can recall the Bears’ only loss this season. It was a night against the Packers where they used bracket coverage (2-man where they play man to man underneath with a safety over the top) on Brandon Marshall all night. Marshall ended the night with two catches for 24 yards and the Bears ended the night with a 23-10 loss.
As the level of difficulty ratchets up in the second half of the season, the Bears are going to need to diversify their offense. Brandon Marshall is on a record setting pace, with 59 catches for 797 yards and 7 touchdowns. His yardage accounts for almost exactly half of the Bears’ net passing yardage while his catches are nearly triple the next nearest pass catcher, 20 by Matt Forte.
Rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery returned to practice on Friday, but his status is doubtful vs the Texans. His return could help provide Cutler with another big body, which would be especially helpful in the red zone.
Earl Bennett had been struggling with a hand injury of his own but has yet to really break through this season. It will be key to get him involved early if the Texans are intent on taking Marshall out of the picture.
I’d also like to see the Bears discover the tight ends. Kellen Davis has struggled in limited action, with only 10 catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns this season. He needs to step up especially if the Texans pass rush is going to be as dominant as we expect. Here’s an under the radar guy to look for on Sunday – Evan Rodriguez.
Rodriguez has been used mostly as an H-back this season, but the rookie showed promise in the passing game in the preseason. I’d like to see him pop a few catches up the seam to take some heat off the other pass catchers. He’s been mostly invisible this season, so it could be a new twist to catch the Texans off guard.
What do you think? Who could help bolster the Bears’ passing attack if Brandon Marshall gets taken out of the picture?