Chicago Bears: 5 changes the coaches must consider to beat Bengals

Chicago Bears Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Bears, David Montgomery
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The Chicago Bears Must Make This Fourth Change: Use more play action

Again, another obvious change. In fact, this change should have come before the last one, but these are not really in a specific order. The reason I say that this change should come before throwing the ball deeper is that many times the way to open up deep routes is to use play action.

For those of you unfamiliar with the phrase, play-action passes are when the quarterback fakes a handoff to a running back to draw the linebackers and defensive line in. Oftentimes, it can even bring in a corner and/or safety for at least a split second, allowing a fast receiver the ability to separate. Play-action passes can even help an offensive line hold their blocks for split seconds longer, allowing the longer receiver routes to develop. This is key.

When a quarterback throws the ball within 2.5 seconds or less (what we saw often with Andy Dalton last week), there is not enough time for those deeper routes to develop. This was a play-calling issue and not a Dalton issue. He wasn’t seeing ghosts and throwing it just to get rid of the ball. No, he was hitting second and sometimes even third reads — that’s how short these routes were.

Using play-action (believe it happened three times last game) more will allow Dalton to hold onto the ball for 3.5 seconds, which is all these receivers who run sub 4.40 times need to get deeper into the secondary. By the way, I’m tired of telling Nagy to use play-action. I have screamed this over and over again the last two years despite it being one of the most effective play-calls in the NFL. Play action was used 22% of the time last year, while most teams who won 10 or more games ran play-action more than average. The Bears were not one of those teams.