While they came in losses, Russell Wilson put up big games against the Los Angelas Rams defense. What can Matt Nagy learn from that performance to put his quarterback in position to win?
If Matt Nagy is watching video to put together a game plan for the Rams defense, the first place he should go is to Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. While the Seahawks lost twice to the Rams, they pushed them to the brink in both starts this season. Wilson was 34-49 for 374 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions.
While Wilson is a much more proven quarterback, stylistically, Mitch Trubisky can do a lot of the same things. Both have athleticism and an ability to get outside of the tackle box but still make plays deep down the football field.
With that in mind, Nagy has to be curious how the Seahawks were able to get Wilson in such advantageous spots.
The first way is quite obvious if you have watched Seattle this season. It can show in Wilson having less than 200 yards per game in his two games with the Rams. Seattle is a run-first football team. The Rams defense ranks eighth against the pass but 25th against the run.
Yes, the Bears rank 15th in rushing efficiency while Seattle is in the top ten with the run being their identity. However, Chris Carson was averaging 3.9 yards per carry in his first three weeks before averaging 6.1 yards per carry against the Rams in their first meeting. The run came alive against a poor Rams run group.
When Mitch Trubisky is going to drop back to pass, the obvious fear with him is Aaron Donald. Whether Donald lines up over Bryan Witzmann or James Daniels, he is going to be coming. The Seattle Seahawks did not shut down Aaron Donald, no one does. However, they find ways to get their quarterback away from him to limit his effectiveness.
The way that they did this was with play action, motion and bootlegs. The Seahawks had a lot of success getting the defense to move left, then rolling their quarterback out to the right and letting him decide whether to use his legs or arm to test various parts of the field. While it seems like a straightforward idea, Seattle turned this into an easy offense for Wilson.
In these seven plays shown you can see a clear theme.
The first one is here. Doug Baldwin motions left. They run play action left, and the defense moves left. Wilson keeps the ball and rolls right, where he now has avoided the pass rush. Baldwin and a tight end flare out deep moving from left to right.
Behind the line of scrimmage, Tyler Lockett runs left to right. The edge defender has to pick him up, and he obviously is not a good matchup for the quick receiver in the flats. This is a well drawn up play to get their mobile quarterback in a comfortable read situation as Baldwin, and the tight end became secondary reads.
The play linked here is a very similar wrinkle. However, this time it is Baldwin sweeping behind the line. You can see how fast the pressure gets home, but because of the scheme and Wilson, it does not matter.
This play was from their first meeting. They are under center, but Chris Carson and Russell Wilson put the linebacker and edge defender in a tough spot thanks to the motion and play action.
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The next one has a different wrinkle. They motion Doug Baldwin left, and run play action left. However, this play is a designed run, and you can see by how the tight end gets downfield, but only to block along the edge for Wilson.
Still, just like the first play, it is now Wilson one-on-one with an edge defender who was crashing left because of the play action and motion. Wilson uses his athleticism to beat the edge defender and pick up the first down. Trubisky does not need to be a Super Bowl winning quarterback to pull off this play.
We saw them run and work the flat; now they open up the intermediate. Watch in the play here. Again, it is not the same play; there are wrinkles. They are under center, and they are heavy to the left this time. Still, Lockett motions inside to the right, and once again flares across the line of scrimmage. However, now the edge defender is wise to Lockett and does not bite at all on the play action. Instead, it is Doug Baldwin who freezes the cornerback forcing Baldwin inside due to the play action. Baldwin takes the inside leverage and gets across the middle of the field. In these situations, Taylor Gabriel can fill in for Lockett, and Allen Robinson would assume the Baldwin role.
They found Doug Baldwin and their tight end over the intermediate with this same concept. The play is here. The play turns incomplete, but Wilson has plenty of options here thanks to the motion left, the player sweeping right behind the line and the play action.
Lastly, we finally see the deep ball worked off of it. The play is linked here. Wilson does have to evade on defender outside of the box to make this happen. Still, you trust the athleticism of your quarterback in space to win these situations. He does so just enough for his receiver to open up Marcus Peters and get loose over the middle of the field. Every pass on these seven plays highlighted was made because the Seahawks schemed Wilson time.
Take a look at this play and see what happens when they just let Wilson drop back against the defense. The Bears need to move the pocket and use motions and play action for Trubisky to succeed.
Attack Marcus Peters
They also should look to attack Marcus Peters. As shown in the last play the Seahawks were able to open up Peters and get Tyler Lockett deep down the field. This was a matchup that they consistently attacked and found more success as well.
Peters has been struggling all season. Yes, he has not had Aqib Talib across from him and has dealt with injuries on his own. However, all of the mistakes are on him and come down to him gambling and it not paying off. This season he has allowed 136 passer rating with six touchdowns allowed to one interception.
Wilson had two long touchdowns against Marcus Peters, one with Tyler Lockett, one with David Moore.
Lockett twisted and tied up Marcus Peters all game. He did it above, and did it for a touchdown in the play here. Lockett gives one wiggle to the sideline, and he is gone. Notice the play action to start the play as well.
Here, David Moore is faking a slant route. Peters is biting, and Moore is gone for a touchdown.
The return of Aqib Talib means that the Rams may be able to give more safety help to Peters side. However, Peters is just missing assignments. He is biting on everything and in this play you can see the Seahawks motioned, and he was not sure of the coverage or where to go. He motions across the line, and Wilson picks up his confusion and runs right where he went away from.
Extend to pass
Russell Wilson is a mobile quarterback. However, the big difference between him and Trubisky is that when he is leaving the pocket, he is looking to pass. We have shown seven passes where Wilson passes outside of the pocket.
However, even when the play breaks down, that is the big difference between the two. When the play breaks down, and Trubisky has to bail, he is scrambling and finding whatever he can. Wilson does a great job of keeping his head up while he scrambles, as he looks to continue to make plays down the field.
In the two plays linked here, you can see how this style hurt the Rams in big ways. The first play is here. Wilson is waiting, and waiting and waiting for someone to break free. No one does so he runs. He gets safety John Johnson to step up and commit to the run. However, Wilson has that understanding and while he could try to take on Johnson, knows that Johnson just left Nick Vannett in coverage. He hits Vannett who is now wide open and runs free for 32 yards.
The last play is here. Wilson once again sees nothing and decides to scramble. However, as he steps up, two defenders step up to come down on Wilson. This is where Wilson once again takes advantage of their fear of him. He stops and lobs a pass to Tyler Lockett who picks up 16 yards.
Mitch Trubisky may not be a complete quarterback like Wilson. However, there is no doubt the Rams are going to respect his legs. Trubisky has to use his legs to get outside of the pocket on play action. He has to take deep shots against Marcus Peters, but most importantly, he should use his legs to fear defenders into a run, but create passes off of it.
With the Bears defense, if they can have similar success to the Seahawks offense, they should be able to walk away with a victory.