Bears Finding Success With Niche Offense
The Bears offense operates best when it's going fast and when running play-action passes.
This much all became evident in Sunday's 19-14 victory over the New York Giants, and from what quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said in postgame comments.
So why not do both all game long? For a team with so many issues on offense, it would seem anything maximizing what they do right and minimizing plays in situations where they struggle would be a no-brainer.
"It's the NFL," wide receiver Anthony Miller said. "You've got to switch it up sometimes.
"You can't just run the exact same thing each and every time because teams are going to catch on."
Trubisky thinks the offense gives them a fighting chance because it levels the playing field.
"On the ball, they can't substitute and we're not substituting either," Trubisky said. "So everybody knows where their spots are at and we're playing fast, and I think that's when we play free and guys are getting in the right spots and guys are making plays.
"I'm seeing the defense, and they're not doing a bunch of crazy looks because we're going fast, and they've got to respect that."
There are other factors in the no-huddle's success. For one, Trubisky has experience with it.
"Yeah and he did it in college, we understand that," Nagy said, as the Bears started a short week of work toward Thursday's game in Detroit. "And when you have somebody that feels comfortable in that, we want to look into that. We've done that this year. We've done it really, I think, don't quote me on this but I think we're top 1 or 2 in the NFL in no-huddle right now."
The no-huddle usage outside of two-minute drills actually started this season against Denver .
"You can go back to, really, the second game of the season, third game of the season, where we've done that," Nagy said. "That's stuff that we look into.
"There's pros and cons to it. It's always good when it works, and then when it doesn't work, you've gotta be careful with that. We like it and we think it's good and we know that Mitch feels comfortable in that and I think our offense does so we want to definitely keep that going."
Nagy didn't want to throw shade on a positive, which is probably advisable when the 30th-ranked offense in the league does so little right.
However, he pointed out it can be difficult to go no-huddle at different times.
"When you have different personnel groupings, you can really only do so much within your offense when you're changing different personnels," Nagy said. "Sometimes you can get handicapped by that, so I think what it is is just trying to figure out whether it's player-wise, scheme-wise, personnel-wise, play-wise what you want to do when you're in that two-minute, when you're in that tempo.
"And sometimes the tempo isn't always where you're going just mach speed. Sometimes it's a tempo where you may be snapping the ball with two seconds on the clock and there's a little bit of making sure you understand those personnels because it's not always real simple."
The play-action passing game and RPOs, which can be the same thing at times, worked to perfection against the Giants. Some of this Sunday could have been opponent specific, because they were getting safety Corey Ballentine to bite on the play-fake and beat him just about any other way they tried.
"We want to do all of that," Nagy said of play-action. "We have the ability to and that's one of the things that we can get to in regards to that play-action stuff.
"We weren't toward the top of the league at all in play action, we didn't do a whole lot of it, but you're seeing we're having some success with it."
Part of the reason they haven't done as much is the obvious. They haven't been able to run, so it's not always as easy to get opponents to buy the fake to the run before the throw.
"You want to be able to run the ball too when you’re doing play action, you want to try to have that going," Nagy said. "So between the run game, play-actions, movement, screens, all that—anything that we can do that we feel we're doing well we want to try to feed off of that."
The Bears had some initial success running on Sunday, including a 13-yarder by Montgomery. In the end, though, they had only 2.5 yards per carry for 20 planned runs. Trubisky had six scrambles for 16 yards in their 65-yard rushing total.
"Yesterday, I go back to, we felt like we were moving the ball pretty consistently through the air," Nagy said. "So when you're having some bigger plays through the pass game and Mitch is getting in a rhythm and the offensive line's protecting well, that's what we went with."