Jay Cutler will have his chances against the Texans
BY ADAM L. JAHNS email@example.com November 10, 2012 12:16AM
Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick gets a taste of the pressure the Texans like to bring. The Texans’ emphasis on getting to the quarterback, though, puts some pressure on their defensive backs. | Eric Gay~AP
Updated: December 12, 2012 6:29AM
Without question, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be under duress Sunday against the Houston Texans at Soldier Field. That’s just life for quarterbacks when facing the Texans’ confusion-causing 3-4 scheme, which can blitz from anywhere.
Cutler, though, will have his chances to take shots. It’ll be on him to make the correct reads. Blitzes often will leave the Texans in man-to-man coverage, and Cutler and receiver Brandon Marshall have fared well against it this season.
‘‘A really good defense,’’ Cutler said of the Texans. ‘‘From top down, the front seven, the secondary is good. They are very well-coached. Sound defense. They don’t let up big plays. Tough against the run. Really good on third down. They present a lot of challenges.’’
The Texans have been cut up before, though. A few weeks ago, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers dissected them to the tune of 338 yards passing and six touchdowns. Included in the dismantling was Rodgers’ 41-yard touchdown strike to Jordy Nelson, which is the play diagrammed to the right.
Cutler has done very well connecting with Marshall against single-high coverage, which basically entails having a single safety playing over the middle and on top of tight man coverage.
The Bears have faced single-high coverage late in games this season, but the Texans use bump-and-run, man-to-man coverages often, doing everything they can to rush the passer.
In the diagrammed play, Rodgers benefitted from good pass protection, which included his tight end chipping linebacker Brooks Reed before running his route and his running back helping on defensive end J.J. Watt.
Rodgers hit Nelson on a go route. Nelson was able to beat the coverage of cornerback Johnathan Joseph, whom Marshall described as top-three cornerback in the league, and safety Danieal Manning was unable to get over to help.
The Bears will try to find and exploit similar matchups using Marshall.
‘‘All receivers think they’re open, but Jay has a great feel,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘He’s not forcing it to me. I’m getting a bunch of targets and have a decent amount of receptions, but he’s not forcing it.
‘‘He’s taking advantage of opportunities. He knows exactly when I’m doubled, when they’re rolling coverage [and] when they’re being a little tricky. He just tells me to be patient because he has a great feel for the game. I think that’s what makes him special.’’