Previewing the Raiders Defense
Can the Bears Tight Ends get loose downfield against the Raiders standard Cover 3?
The Bears have a fairly challenging game on Sunday versus the 3-1 Raiders. Oakland…er, Las Vegas, has had a solid start to the year, with Derek Carr finally acclimating to Jon Gruden’s offense. However, in the coaching business, it’s not what you know, but who you know, and new raiders DC Gus Bradley and Jon Gruden definitely know each other.
Bradley worked for Gruden as linebacker’s coach in Tampa Bay back in the late 2000’s, (or as Wikipedia, would so have me believe!) He then got to Seattle just in time to run the Seahawks Legion of Boom defense, which he then parlayed into a relatively anonymous coaching run with the Jaguars. He was the Chargers DC the past four years until Brandon Staley took over, most likely because Staley runs his Fangio two high shell, and Bradley, does not.
Why the fuss over some random defensive coordinator? Because Gus Bradley LOVES Cover 3. In a league that is maybe slooowwwly transitioning out of that look as often, (it still has to be used as one of your main clubs in your bag, obviously), Gus Bradley will rock that Cover 3 all day. In fact, we will watch three videos of how he does it. Below is super basic Cover 3:
The 3 pink squares are where the two corners and safeties drop to. They go as deep as the offensive players do. The two middle linebackers take the seams, and the outside linebackers or a safety down in the box will take the curl and flat area. The yellow zones are where cover three is vulnerable. If you have a fast tight end running up the seam, as you will see in some videos, the linebackers may have trouble carrying them.
In Seattle, he had two borderline Hall of Fame, or at the least Hall of Very GOOD (trademark: HOVG) players in cornerback Richard Sherman, and free safety Earl Thomas. Earl Thomas has such phenomenal range, that the Seahawks could stuff the box for the run, and Thomas at times would make it seem like Seattle had two safeties running around. Not every team has an Earl Thomas (all Earl Thomas jokes set aside for now), and at times, the players do make the scheme.
Below will be three instances where the Chargers attack the Raiders Cover 3 with Tight Ends. Give credit to Chargers coaches for watching film and getting the right calls in from the press box to make sure the offense had the right personnel and plays in to attack it. Hopefully the Bears can utilize THEIR Tight Ends when this coverage is called and make some big plays.