Coach's Big Decision: Take a shot?

November, 10, 2012
11/10/12
1:30
PM ET
Houston plays an aggressive high-pressure scheme under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, which will put the Texans in man-to-man coverage on some passing downs that Chicago needs to take advantage of.

The difficult decision for offensive coordinator Mike Tice is how he’ll decide between deploying extra personnel to protect Jay Cutler versus utilizing extra receivers in some routes to exploit Houston’s high-risk schemes on the back end.


So far, the Bears have used max protection to protect Cutler on occasion. But when the Bears max protect, they usually deploy just two receivers into routes, which doesn’t give the team enough targets to take full advantage when the Texans play man-to-man in the secondary. But if the Bears decide to utilize three or four receivers when Houston plays man-to-man, they won’t be as strong in protection, and will expose Cutler to punishment if the quarterback doesn’t get rid of the ball quickly on five- and seven-step drops.

But if the Bears utilize multiple-receiver formations with short drops, the Texans will likely sit on routes, waiting to break on quick routes for interceptions.

So Tice needs to find a way to strike a balance between adequately protecting Cutler and taking shots against Houston’s high-risk scheme. The Bears definitely plan to take chances against the Texans secondary.

But Tice needs to make sure the Bears do that in ideal situations. Down, distance, field position and the score of the game will dictate some of that.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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