Quarterback Andy Dalton and the Bengals talented tight ends will test the Bears' Cover-2 defense inside the red zone Sunday. With veteran Jermaine Gresham — and the addition of rookie Tyler Eifert — the Bengals have two options to expose the middle of the field.
Using the All-22 coaches tape, here's an example from the 2012 season of how Dalton targeted Gresham on the seam route versus Cover-2.
The Bengals have their Posse personnel (three wide receivers, one tight end, one running back) on the field in a Doubles Orange alignment (2-by-2 spread) versus the Giants' nickel package (five defensive backs).
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To the closed side of the formation, the Bengals are running the smash-seam combination while working the "spot" concept (corner-curl-flat) to the open side out of a bunch alignment.
Gresham stems his route in front of the deep-half safety and targets the hole in the middle of the field that should be occupied by the Mike linebacker.
The Mike backer has to open his hips to the passing strength (bunch alignment), read the quarterback and then re-direct to match/carry the tight end on the vertical seam.
However, with the Giants linebacker squatting on the inside curl, Dalton can look up Gresham and target the tight end in the vacated zone.
The Giants free safety is going to overlap any throw back to the middle of the field, but this is a tough play to make versus the size and length of Gresham. Dalton puts some air under this ball and allows his tight end to climb the ladder for the touchdown.
On Sunday, the Bears could see more Ace personnel (two wide receivers, two tight ends, one running back) as the Bengals look to also utilize the talents of Eifert.