Do Chicago Bears have secret weapon to defend George Kittle?
When the Chicago Bears signed Dane Cruikshank, it was a bit unknown by fans, but Titans fans knew that they were losing a gem. They called him their tight end stopper, and while he had a niche skill set, the skill set is rather valuable in the right situations.
When the Titans took on the San Francisco 49ers last season, they held Kittle in check with two catches for 21 yards in a key with over the cross-conference foe.
Cruikshank played 16 snaps in that game, 11 of them in coverage, almost all of them on third down, and all of them had him lined up on Kittle. After the game, Mike Vrabel praised the effort.
So, with the Chicago Bears hosting the 49ers, and George Kittle coming into town, we will get to see if Cruikshank truly is the kryptonite to the star tight end.
While most teams are moving to a thee-wide look on offense, the 49ers are a team that still packs things in tight with a fullback and tight ends. That will have Kyler Gordon back on the outside after they have been training him in the slot.
It also means, that the Bears will run more heavy personnel, and that means less nickel. However, instead of running more nickel, they need to take off the third linebacker for safety Dane Cruikshank, rather than sliding the small cornerback Gordon into the slot.
Cruikshank missed the first two preseason games, but we did see him in the box and in the slot with the starters during the preseason final. How often they got him on the field, how creatively they were able to do it, and of course, how Cruikshank performs against Kittle will be worth checking back in on after the game.
Will the Chicago Bears follow the Titans’ plan from last season, or will they look to other paths for defending Kittle?