Saints found holes in Cover 2 defense

September, 18, 2011
9/18/11
6:03
PM ET
NEW ORLEANS -- Because of how the Cover 2 defense is designed, the Chicago Bears generally allow only a handful of big passing plays down the field over the course of a season. But on Sunday, the New Orleans Saints torched the Bears secondary early in the second quarter when New Orleans receiver Devery Henderson hauled in a 79-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Drew Brees.

On the play, Henderson split safeties Major Wright and Chris Conte, who are both supposed to be deep and overlapping the football.

[+] EnlargeDevery Henderson
AP Photo/Bill FeigThe Saints' Devery Henderson eludes Bears defenders Chris Conte and Major Wright on a 79-yard touchdown reception.
"Our thing is to make you earn it," Bears starting strong side linebacker Nick Roach said. "Obviously, we don't do a lot of complicated things, we just don't want to give up those big, explosive-type plays. That's something we never want to have happen."

The Bears clearly missed the veteran leadership of safety Chris Harris during Sunday’s 30-13 defeat. With Harris inactive due to a tight hamstring, the Bears starting safeties were Wright and Brandon Meriweather, but they rotated Conte -- a rookie third-round pick out of California -- into the game for several series. Reserve safety Craig Steltz also saw action in the second half after Wright left the game with a head injury.

While Harris might not possess blazing speed, his knowledge and understanding of the defense is second to none.

"He's one of our leaders," Roach said of Harris. "He's a veteran, one of our main communicators out there, from getting everybody lined up to talking on the field. He's obviously a big part of the defense. But we need to have guys step up and not have a drop off."

Harris' hamstring injury isn't considered serious, and the Bears will desperately need the veteran to return when they host the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers next Sunday at Soldier Field.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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