Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Bears Day 6 Summary: Red Zone Offense Red Hot

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The Bears defense had some notable moments during practice Wednesday night.

But fans in attendance were thrilled to see the Bears offense consistently making plays in the red zone.

It a problem last season, as the team ranked 27th in the NFL in red zone offense, converting less than half of their opportunities into touchdowns. But it was encouraging on Wednesday, as Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie made some nice decisions -- and better throws -- to their receivers.

Cutler's best pass was one to the right corner of the end zone. He flicked the ball before Devin Aromashodu broke toward the corner, and the receiver barely reached up and snatched it down for a touchdown.

Either Aromashodu was going to make the catch or nobody was.

"This year, we need to score down in the red zone," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "It has been encouraging.

"You got to get touchdowns down there."

Meanwhile, the injury list is piling up for the Bears. Smith said Unga's hamstring injury will take more time than originally expected. Mike Teel (hamstring), Charles Tillman (ankle) and Barry Turner didn't practice Wednesday, joining Chris Harris (back), Major Wright (groin) and Juaquin Iglesias (quad).

Linebacker Brian Iwuh watched the practice with a brace on his right knee. His injury is not significant.

Olin Kreutz was given the night off.

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This is the difference between a Martz offense and a Ron Turner offense. In the red zone, Turner ran two kinds of routes: jump ball fades, and stop routes. Most of the time, he went for the stop route, where the receiver got to the goal line and settled there, hoping to get a quick pass before the defense can react.

Martz treats the end zone like he does the rest of the field. Timing and movement create separation and mismatches. It is a lot harder to execute, but also a lot harder to defend. I can't even count how many times Torry Holt or Isaac Bruce ran a fake slant/out route inside the 5 for a TD over their time in St. Louis with Martz, and the TE usually slips right in behind that route on a drag (keep moving rather than sit down). Sometimes they would even flare the back underneath the out and force the defense to react to another threat to what is usually a zone coverage that close to the goal line.

The injuries are concerning me for this early in camp. Too many muscle pulls and strains, and most of them young players who need the work. Maybe Tillman being down will give Graham a chance to assert himself as the 3rd CB?

last year in camp, Zach Bowman was a pro bowler after 1 week if you remember all the hype. Is it encouraging that the offense looked good, of course. But I want to see it against another team's defense first.
I don't want to rush to judgement, but it might look like Iglesias was another wasted pick by Angelo. This might just turn out to be a flat out bust, not a "guy drafted before his time" situation that you found with Okwo, Wolfe, Bradley, etc. I would be curious to know how maybe Freddie Barnes has looked if he is getting any additional snaps with the Iglesias injury.
That injury list looks like a 16" softball injury list from Humboldt Park..not from guys who are, for the most part, under 25.

Something that should be noted about the Red Zone drills on day 6. They were 7 on 7, no lines.

Something you should know Creighton- Day 6 Red Zone drill the Wide Outs and Tight Ends were beating out the coverage. Point to make not that it was 7 on 7 drills but the wide outs making plays on the ball.
Thats all thats it. You talk as if the Bears are the only team to do 7 on 7 drills. You talk like the Bears are the only team not to tackle and hit hard in practice. When all NFL teams are doing the samething the Bears are doing.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on August 4, 2010 10:15 PM.

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