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Cottrell and our Defense

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Trumpet_Man, Sep 8, 2007.

  1. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

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    http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/7204264

    Cottrell aims to improve Chargers defense

    Alex Marvez / FOXSports.com
    Posted: 2 hours ago

    Compared to Ted Cottrell, new Chargers coach Norv Turner has it easy.
    San Diego's hiring of Turner has come under heavy scrutiny because of his 58-82-1 career coaching record. But as long as the Chargers win a playoff game — something they couldn't do the past five seasons under former coach Marty Schottenheimer — the franchise will have made marked progress.

    Cottrell doesn't have that same kind of luxury.

    The bar was set so high by departed defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' unit in 2006 that Cottrell will be hard-pressed to duplicate such success as his replacement. Plus, Cottrell has the unenviable task of being the heir apparent to a coach whose laid-back style made him a locker-room favorite.

    But after spending a year out of coaching, Cottrell is happily embracing those challenges as the Chargers prepare for Sunday's regular-season opener against visiting Chicago.

    "I really never thought about having to replace a popular guy, but a guy who did a great job," Cottrell told FOXSports.com Friday after San Diego's final preseason practice. "The players want someone who knows what he's doing. That's first how you get their respect because if you don't know what you're doing, they can see right through you."

    Cottrell, 60, has shown he knows his stuff during 24 seasons as an NFL assistant, including stints as a defensive coordinator for Buffalo (1998 to 2000), the New York Jets (2001 to 2003) and Minnesota (2004 to 2005). Cottrell is particularly adept at running the same kind of 3-4 system that helped the 2006 Chargers produce a league-high 61 sacks en route to a No. 10 overall defensive ranking and 14-2 regular-season record.

    To Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, it was a no-brainer to lure Cottrell away from an NFL front-office job once he received Turner's blessing.

    "Continuity was very important," Smith said. "The playbooks are the same."

    Cottrell's transition also was smoothed by having worked as Buffalo's defensive coordinator when Phillips was the Bills' head coach. But there was a feeling-out process among Chargers players after Cottrell took the reigns from Phillips, who was hired away this off-season as Dallas' head coach.

    "I remember the first couple of meetings. You see the sharp difference," Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo said. "That's when you most notice it and miss the person you were with the last two years. But it was something that gradually the more time we spent together, the more you start realizing the knowledge, the desire to win at all costs and the passion for it all is there. Slowly in time, we worked it out through training camp."

    Still, there were some bumps during the transition. One came last month when Shawne Merriman began yelling at Cottrell when a practice drill didn't unfold as planned. Rather than backing down from the star strong-side linebacker and potentially lose respect among his players, Cottrell responded with his own obscenity-laced tirade before the matter was settled.

    Cottrell and Merriman both said the incident made their relationship stronger.

    "The thing is Shawne is such a leader," Cottrell said. "Guys look up to him. He has to control [his emotions] in a good and different way. I know what happened really helped."

    Said Merriman, the NFL's reigning sack leader after notching 17 in 2006: "He now knows I want the same thing he does and I know he wants the same thing I do. That helped us get on the same page.

    "Wade was more laid-back. He'll say something when you do something wrong to get on you and that will be it. Ted is more like he's going to direct things from the start to the finish. But he still wants you to go out there and attack and make plays. That's what we do."

    Cottrell said he wants San Diego's defense to improve on third downs — opponents had a 36.6-percent success rate in 2006 — and generate more turnovers. The Chargers were tied for 14th in that category last season with 28 (16 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries), which is relatively meager production considering how many sacks they logged.

    Cottrell kept his game plans vanilla during the preseason, intentionally shrouding any new wrinkles that are being implemented. Castillo said Cottrell instead concentrated on trying to improve "things that maybe we weren't so good at" last season, which he believes will pay dividends starting Sunday against a Bears offense led by erratic quarterback Rex Grossman.

    "Look at a guy like Shawne Merriman. For him to have to drop back as much as he did this preseason, you could tell he wasn't rushing and we kept it vanilla," Castillo said. "But at the same time, he was getting better at another part of his [game]. We've improved as a defense. That's the biggest thing.

    "A month or two ago, there was that sharp difference and distinction in everybody's minds that, ‘Things used to be like this. Now, they're like this. We'll see how it goes.' Now it's, ‘We're a team.'

    "We're ready to roll."
     
  2. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    I hope we have a more aggressive kick your *** defense, one that would just as soon take a personal foul versus giving up yards. Yeah, thats what I want to see, a kick you when you down defense, take no prisoners.:bolt: :icon_toast:
     
  3. !~BOLT~!

    !~BOLT~! Well-Known Member

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    Nice read:icon_toast:
     
  4. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

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    Since the Bears play Cover 2, here is a quickie lesson on what it is and how to attack it.

    http://espn.go.com/ncf/columns/davie/1437187.html

    Football 101: Cover 2

    By Bob Davie
    Special to ESPN.com

    Editor's note: As architect of Texas A&M's Wrecking Crew defense (1989-93), Notre Dame defensive coordinator (1994-96) and head coach of the Irish (1997-2001), Bob Davie has been recognized as a top X's and O's coach. This season, Coach Davie will analyze offensive and defensive schemes as part of his season-long course on football for ESPN.com. Each week, he will break out the chalkboard and break down the X's and O's in college football.

    Over the past couple of weeks we have had tremendous feedback about the Football 101 column. What we will try to do in the following weeks is answer your most frequent questions. Many of you have had questions in regard to defensive pass coverages and specifically Cover 2. Every defensive football team in the country has some variation of Cover 2 in their defensive package.

    This week's class will explain what Cover 2 is, how to play it and some variations. We will also show ways offenses can attack it.

    Terminology

    Why is it called Cover 2
    When deciding the terminology of calling coverages, the number of deep zone pass defenders that are deployed will normally determine what a defensive coach calls a defense. In Cover 2 for example, there are two deep safeties that divide the field into halves. If the secondary played Cover 3, three deep defenders would divide the deep responsibility on the field into thirds. If they played Cover 4, four deep defenders divide the deep zone into fourths.

    Obviously, different teams use different terminology, but the most commonly used is simply identifying how many deep zone defenders are used.

    What is Cover 2?
    The base Cover 2 is a zone defense where every defender is responsible for an area of the field and not a specific man. The field is divided into five underneath zones and two deep zones. The two corners and three linebackers play the underneath fifths, and the two safeties play the deep halves. In the diagram below you can see the field divided into underneath fifths and deep halves.

    [​IMG]

    Cover 2: How is it played?
    In Cover 2, it is obvious that the safeties have a tremendous burden and a lot of field to cover. They must get help from the underneath coverage to keep receivers from outnumbering them in the deep zones. There are two critical techniques that can help the safeties. First, the corners must collide with the receivers and flatten out their routes to keep them from running outside freely, which would stretch the safeties. If the wide receivers release unmolested, it is almost impossible for the safeties to get enough width quickly enough to defend the deep pass. The corners are responsible for their outside fifths, which is a shallow area, but they must sink with the receiver until another receiver threatens their zone.

    [​IMG]

    Pattern read: What is it?
    As you can see, Cover 2 is a zone coverage, but it is critical that the underneath defenders at times play man-to-man based on the routes the offense runs. This is the second technique that helps the safety. For example, if the wide receiver to the linebacker side releases outside in a position to stretch the safety deep, the linebacker must know that. He then must carry his coverage on the running back or tight end through the deep zone. This is called pattern read, which means based on what pattern the offense runs, man-to-man principles are applied. This is an example of a linebacker making a pattern read. In the diagram, he sees that the receiver (1) releases outside the corner and he knows that he must carry (2) through the seam where the safety will be outnumbered.

    [​IMG]

    Cover 2: How offenses attack it
    (1) Four vertical receivers
    The first thing an offense will do if they see Cover 2 is see how you defend four vertical receivers running down the field stretching the two safeties. If Cover 2 is not played properly, this is the first place the offense will go and it could result in a big play. In the previous figure, we showed how to defend four vertical by the corners flattening out the wide receivers and the underneath coverage linebackers running with the vertical of the tight end and running back. But it is also obvious by the previous diagram that if the linebackers fail, a big play is possible.

    Cover 2: How offenses attack it
    (2) High-low stretch vertically on the corner
    The next way the offense will attack Cover 2 is to stretch the corners vertically. The most common way to attack Cover 2 is to high-low the corner who has the outside fifth or flat responsibility. The outside wide receiver runs a post-corner route. In other words, he fakes as if he will run a deep route, which freezes the safety, then breaks back outside to the corner. He knows the safety must stay inside and protect his inside one-half and not allow the receiver to cross his face (which means getting inside of him). The corner tries to sink and help defend the hole between he and the safety to his outside. The offense will then release a tight end or running back into the corner's fifth to create a high-low stretch.

    [​IMG]

    Cover 2: How offenses attack it
    (3) In-Out stretch horizontally on the corner
    Another way to defeat cover two is to horizontally stretch the corner and create a void between the corner and either the SAM or WIL linebacker. The offense does this by outside releasing the wide receiver to make the corner flatten out and widen. As we stated before, the corner must jam and widen to keep the receiver from releasing outside and stretching his safety. The offense takes advantage of the corner's technique by making him widen with the wide receiver's release and then sending the No. 2 receiver either tight end or running back into the void or stretched area between the linebacker or corner.

    [​IMG]

    Variations of Cover 2
    Man under
    The most common variation of cover two is when the defense chooses to play two deep safeties but assign the five underneath defenders to play man-to-man on the offenses five eligible receivers. This is an excellent change up because it looks exactly the same as regular cover two zone to the offense. On the snap of the ball, the offense is confused because they have called their zone beaters but the defense locks up on the man-to-man receivers.

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion
    Cover two is an effective coverage because you can assign five defenders to play the underneath zones. This makes the offense have to execute at an extremely high level to be effective. The defense is not allowing much space or easy throws. The vulnerability of cover two is that you only have two deep defenders. Obviously, that leaves a large area for the safeties to cover. To help the deep defenders, the underneath zone players must pattern read the routes of the offensive players to take the pressure off the safeties. The key to cover two, or any zone coverage, is getting a great pass rush with your four rushers. No zone coverage can hold up against a good passing football team if you don't pressure the quarterback.
     
  5. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

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    http://chicagosports.chicagotribune...bears,1,1895108.story?coll=cs-bears-headlines

    Bears defense tackles tall task
    Walker could help in stopping potent Chargers attack
    By Vaughn McClure
    Tribune staff reporter

    September 6, 2007, 11:15 PM CDT

    Bears defensive tackle Darwin Walker couldn't conjure up some off-the-wall story to explain how he helped the Philadelphia Eagles hold LaDainian Tomlinson to a career-low seven yards on 17 carries in 2005.

    No one sneaked into the backfield and tied Tomlinson's shoes together. No one dropped sleeping pills in Tomlinson's water bottle.

    "I think we just had a good game plan, fortunately," Walker said. "We played physical and fast. That was the key."

    Certainly such an effort gave Walker and his teammates reason to gloat. Besides, this was L.T., the guy who finished that season with 1,462 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns, and the player who would become the MVP the next year.

    "Hmmm, ahhh," Walker started, "I'm not going to put it out there what we said to him."

    The Bears defense could speak loudly with the way it defends against Tomlinson on Sunday. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher says Tomlinson is the best running back in the NFL.

    Tomlinson seems equally as complimentary of the Bears.

    "They do a lot of things well," he said. "They're aggressive. They run to the ball. They cause a lot of turnovers. And they're disciplined."

    We will see how disciplined coordinator Bob Babich's defense is against the league's top scoring offense from last season. Here are a few guidelines the Bears may or may not follow Sunday:


    1. Don't overpursue
    Rest assured, the Bears will fly all over the field. But they have to show intelligence when shooting the gaps. Pursuing too hard isn't ideal against a player with Tomlinson's shiftiness.

    Not to single anyone out, but new starting nose tackle Dusty Dvoracek has to play with the most caution. He has high energy and showed the ability to penetrate into the backfield during exhibitions, but he can't afford to be overzealous. Same holds true for Mark Anderson, who has made significant strides against the run but still has work to do.

    2. Secure the tackle
    The Bears are used to tackling with the first defender then attempting the strip the ball from him with the second. That's fine against some teams—just not the Chargers. Tomlinson, who averaged 5.2 yards per carry last season, lost only one fumble in 404 touches last season.

    "We need to make sure we secure the tackle with L.T.," Babich said.

    He's cool with his second and third defenders taking a swipe, but the Bears might want to consider gang-tackling Tomlinson more often than not.

    "We have to get 11 guys to the football," Urlacher said. "[Tomlinson] breaks tackles. He makes people miss."

    The defense would be better off looking for the strip when Michael Turner, Tomlinson's backup, is in the game.

    3. Use depth to advantage
    Alex Brown and Walker aren't listed as starters on the depth chart, but they may as well be. The Bears plan to use both in the rotation, which should help put extreme pressure on San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers.

    For starters, Brown's proven pass-rushing skills should allow the Bears to keep fellow ends Adewale Ogunleye and Mark Anderson fresh against a stout Chargers offensive line. Walker is added insurance on the interior with Tommie Harris' conditioning still in question as he recovers from hamstring surgery. End Israel Idonije and nose tackle Anthony Adams might get a few snaps too.

    Another aspect to consider is the weather. It should be hot, but not scorching, in San Diego and the Bears will be wearing their dark uniforms. All the more reason to keep guys fresh.

    4. Get physical with receivers
    Charles Tillman called the Chargers receivers average, individually.

    "But as a whole, they're great," Tillman said. "They're fast. They're big. They're physical. They block down the field."

    Now, the Bears have to counter with physical play. Babich wouldn't say he's committed to press coverage, but it probably would be a smart idea, considering Chargers starting receivers Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd are both 6 feet 5 inches, tight end Antonio Gates is 6-4 and speedy rookie Craig Davis is 6-1.

    "They like to go up at the highest point to get the ball," strong safety Adam Archuleta said. "A guy like Gates, he's really good with his body, shielding you off."

    So getting the receivers out of step early is key, whether it's Tillman getting up in Jackson, or one of the ends slowing Gates.

    And speaking of Gates, Urlacher has to be prepared to see the tight end over the middle, considering that's naturally the most vulnerable place on the field in the Cover-2 defense.

    The Bears also need to be aware of Tomlinson as a receiver, considering he was second on the team in catches to Gates last season.

    5. Score on defense
    Anderson smiled when naming the fourth of his five defensive keys Sunday.

    "We have to score, man," he said. "We have to score."

    That's not a far-fetched goal. The Bears had three defensive touchdowns last season and have free safety Mike Brown back in the lineup. Brown is the franchise's all-time leader in defensive touchdowns with seven, including a fumble return of an Anderson strip against Arizona last year.

    But here's the catch: San Diego won't turn the ball over easily. Aside from Tomlinson protecting the ball, Rivers threw for 22 touchdowns last season with just nine interceptions. That's a large part of the reason San Diego was second in the league with a plus-13 turnover ratio, though those numbers took a hit with four turnovers in a playoff loss to New England.

    Maybe the Chargers' offense isn't as unstoppable as it looks on paper.
     
  6. swishbish33

    swishbish33 BoltTalker

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    Uhh, yes it is, as Bears fans will see tomorrow.
     
  7. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Well-Known Member

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    Yes, in the NE game we had four turnovers, one on special teams and one on defense after an INT. What the phuck does that have to do with the offense?
     
  8. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I want to see Cottrell attack, attack, attack. Rex can't handle the pressure that we're capable of bringing. Turnovers will be a big part of this game.

    On offense, I don't see anyone shutting down our multiple weapons. Stop LT? PR is gonna beat ya, & vice versa. The Bears are good, but they're going to find out today that being the cream in the NFC & the cream in the AFC are two very different things.

    NFC = no f***ing chance.

    BTW - good reads.
     
  9. BoltsFanUK

    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

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    Nice read there Trumpy..we want Rex Rushed off his feet in todays game
     
  10. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    It's really kind of funny, all I've read is how the Bears D is going to try and shut down our O. I guess our D doesn't factor into this game because the Bears offense is so much better than ours? :bolt: :icon_shrug:
     
  11. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I think that most folks know that the only chance the Bears lies with their D, so they concentrate their attention on that. Their offense doesn't even look that good against their pitiful NFC opponents, so you know they're going to struggle against our D.
     
  12. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    I know, I was being a smart ***. Our defense is what I believe will win this game. The Bears D may play us tough but I can't see them shutting us out. On their other hand, I can see our D shutting them down.:bolt: :tup: :abq2: :icon_toast:
     
  13. BoltsFanUK

    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

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    Rex won't know what hit him:yes: :yes: :yes:
     
  14. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Oh, he'll know. Once he wakes up & someone tells him!! :lol:

    It'll be the "Shawne and Shaun Express" ! :icon_banana:
     
  15. Enormo

    Enormo BoltTalker

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    Thanks Trumpie. Nice post.
     
  16. BoltsFanUK

    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

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    yeah lol..i beat the Bears 68-7 as the chargers week one..


    LT- 185 yds 25 carries 6.3 average 4 TDs

    Interceptasaurus- 4 sacks 4 INTs 1 TD pass

    Merriman- 3 sacks..1 INT..99 YD INT Return

    D-Flo- 3 INT 2 INT Returns

    Phillips- 1 Sack. 1 FF.. Fumble RET
     

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