How the racing game helps Justin Fields – NBC Chicago

Hoge Cinematic Study: How The Running Game Helps Justin Fields originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley went viral on Wednesday with one of the best diet-related explanations you’ll ever hear from an NFL head coach.

The question to ask yourself: what is the running game for a quarterback?

The answer? I encourage you to watch the full video below, but the gist is this:

“You don’t need a good racing game to be a good action and action team, but what you need for the racing game is the physical element of the game,” he said. Staley said. “There is a physical element to the game that is real. If you’re just a passing team, there’s a physical element to the game that defense doesn’t have to respect, and that’s the truth.

The former Bears outside linebacker coach has had a meteoric rise through the coaching ranks, landing in Los Angeles last year as the Rams’ defensive coordinator before the Chargers hired him as head coach this year. He’s a former quarterback turned defensive guru under Vic Fangio, and you can see why he has early success with a young quarterback like Justin Herbert and responds like that.

Staley went on to make an obvious point that we all lose sight of sometimes: the running game forces the defense to block and tackle with every play, while the passing game does not.

“So what the racing game does is it really challenges your physique,” ​​Staley said. “And that’s why I think the running game is important for a quarterback, because it’s going to literally give him more room to operate when you throw the soccer ball. It’s not that you need the racing game to get it started, it’s just what it gives the rest of your skillful players.

So what does this have to do with bears? Well, from my perspective that’s the fundamental difference between what the Bears failed to do with Justin Fields against the Cleveland Browns two weeks ago and what they managed to do against. the Detroit Lions last week.

Against the Lions, the Bears used the running game – 34 runs from their backers – to help Justin Fields make five passes of at least 20 yards from the air in just 17 passing attempts. It was the most aerial yards completed in the Matt Nagy era since Mitch Trubisky pulled off the feat against the Packers in 2019, but out of 53 attempted passes.

And it didn’t take long Sunday to launch the deep shots. After running the ball in five of the first seven games, Fields managed to hit wide receiver Darnell Mooney to a 21-yard deep cross. The pitch wasn’t perfect (a more precise pass would have made for even bigger play) but Fields still gave Mooney the chance to make a play, and the catcher did it with a stunt dive.

Staff “11” with three wide receivers, the Bears kept tight end Cole Kmet to block. This provided the time needed for the piece to develop. Meanwhile, the playing action kept linebackers closer to the line of scrimmage, while two vertical routes pushed four Lions defensive backs deep. Detroit certainly didn’t play well, but the result was a wide open middle level hole for Mooney.

The theme of combining protection and playing action to create deep shots continued throughout the game. Later, using “21” staff with JP Holtz lined up as a full-back, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor used a “dagger” concept to create an explosive throw at Allen Robinson. The dagger uses a vertical route to clear space for a lower receiver in the middle of the field.

Clustered to the right, Damiere Byrd occupied both Cover-2 safeties by running right next to the safety on the playing side. This created space for Robinson to cut below and Fields delivered an absolute strike (watch the ball placement below). Once again, the playing action kept the linebackers below.

“(The running game) makes my job a lot easier, of course,” Fields said Wednesday. “When the defense sees that we are in this kind of staff, they most likely think of the leak. So that definitely sets up the action game. It does a lot of advancement in the passing game.

There’s no reason to stop here, as Robinson’s exceptional capture from the Bears sideline also came from the game. And that was an absolute dime by Fields.

Again, the gameplay action keeps the defender below just enough to create the launch window – and that window wasn’t as large. But the Bears are also in a seven-man guard, giving Fields plenty of time to let the roads develop. Heavy protection was probably not needed since the Lions only sent four rushers and lost seven, but this piece shows that you can still find a deep shot with just two receivers against seven defenders when there is time and space to work with. One of the reasons Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan use tighter formations is that it gives receivers more room to operate outside of the numbers.

Of course, you still need the quarterback for the throws. And it’s not an easy throw. But that’s exactly why Nagy ended the drama on Wednesday and named Fields his starting quarterback going forward.

“(The Deep Threat) was important because it really helps the racing game, and we weren’t really big about that when you look at the achievement chart, right? The passing board where these came from, they weren’t performing much (until Sunday), ”Nagy said. “Even if you don’t complete them… you help your game run. You help your linemen. So when you log into it and you can reverse the field, it’s huge. “

Fields simply gives Nagy’s offense a threat he was sorely lacking, but it all works in tandem with the running game. Staley has the same luxury right now in Los Angeles with Justin Hebert.

But that’s exactly why the Bears’ extended / static roads game plan in Cleveland continues to look maddening. Even against a much better defense than the Lions, it wasn’t necessary and didn’t put the rookie quarterback in the best position to succeed.

That changed against the Lions, and what’s especially encouraging is that Robinson’s throw from the sidelines was an example of an “NFL open” that Fields seemed reluctant to pull the trigger in Cleveland. You could argue that even in this game he could have kicked the ball off a twitch faster, but it was still a huge improvement over the week before.

Going forward, it won’t be as easy as against the Lions – and losing David Montgomery in the run game doesn’t help – but if the Bears don’t give up the run and stick to what’s wrong with it. worked last week, they’ll have him put Fields in position to make the explosive throws needed to win games in today’s NFL.

Staley clearly understands. Can the Bears get involved?

Notes report

(As always, for more details on the scoring system, Click here.

– With 17 games on the schedule, the schedule can no longer be split into equal quarters, but this is usually where we can start to give some credibility to the overall scores for the season. With that in mind, here are some key young players playing at a level the Bears were hoping for: linebacker Roquan Smith (4.50), wide receiver Darnell Mooney (3.50), cornerback Jaylon Johnson (3.50). All of them are at least in the long-term beginner category, with Smith breaking through the blue chip barrier.

– Then you have players that exceed expectations, like Montgomery’s 7.00, Robert Quinn’s 4.00, and Angelo Blackson’s 3.00.

– Players who must improve as the season progresses: safety half Eddie Jackson (0.75), tight end Cole Kmet (0.50) and right tackle Germain Ifedi (-0, 50). However, it should be noted that Ifedi played much better against the Lions.

– While tight ends have been largely disappointing so far this season, all four (Kmet, Jimmy Graham, Jesse James and JP Holtz) have ranked well as blockers against the Lions. You have to think that their targets in the passing game will eventually increase.

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