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  1. #1
    Muggsy is offline Asst. Coach
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    Vikings may want to think twice about the 'Tampa-2'

    After dispatching New York, John Fox's Panthers crushed the Bears' version of the defense, with Seattle next facing the steamroller.
    by Mark Craig

    CHICAGO - Carolina's John Fox is the most underrated coach in the NFL, and he's wreaking havoc on peers as he marches across the country in what he jokingly referred to as his team's postseason "around-the-world tour" of hostile environs.

    Last week, the Panthers blanked the Giants 23-0, causing normally mild-mannered Giants running back Tiki Barber to publicly question the ability of his own coach, Tom Coughlin. He wasn't too thrilled and supposedly had it out with Barber behind closed doors.

    Sunday, Fox moved to the middle of the country and schooled reigning NFL Coach of the Year Lovie Smith in a 29-21 NFC divisional victory over the Bears.

    At one point during receiver Steve Smith's 12-catch, 218-yard, two-touchdown thrashing of Chicago's vaunted "Tampa-2" knockoff scheme, Lovie Smith called his starting defense together on the sideline. It appeared from the press box to be 50 percent pep talk and 50 percent "What the heck is going on out there?"

    Whatever Lovie said, it didn't work. The defense, which ranked No. 2 overall and No. 1 in scoring, continued to give up one big play after another to the same team it had defeated 13-3 two months earlier.

    "Carolina just wanted it more than we did," Smith said.

    Next up for the Panthers: The left side of the country, Qwest Field, Seattle. Not even Mike Holmgren's Super Bowl ring and the Seahawks' No. 1 seed are safe from being out-Foxed in Sunday's NFC Championship Game. Remember, Fox won at Philadelphia two years ago to reach the Super Bowl.

    Needless to say, Sunday was not a good day for two versions of the "Tampa-2" schemes the Vikings covet. Indianapolis, which has used the scheme since Tony Dungy arrived from Tampa in 2002, also gave up too many big pass plays -- a serious no-no in the "Tampa-2" -- in a 21-18 AFC divisional loss to visiting Pittsburgh earlier in the day.

    So what happened?

    "Steve Smith," Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher said when asked that question. "He kept making plays. He's the best offensive player in the league."

    Vikings coach Brad Childress said last week that it's an oversimplification to label the Bears defense as a "Tampa-2" or "Cover-2" scheme. Upon closer observation Sunday, we get his drift.

    Like the other "Tampa-2" defenses, the Bears don't sit in the same defense throughout the game.

    For instance, when Smith caught his 58-yard touchdown on the second play of the game, free safety Chris Harris dropped near the line of scrimmage, leaving strong safety Mike Brown alone deep.

    Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme said he read the shift, realized Smith would be single covered and threw the ball. It didn't help the Bears that cornerback Charles Tillman fell down in coverage, or that Brown missed a tackle.

    Can't blame that one on the scheme.

    On Smith's 46-yard reception to set up the Panthers' first field goal, Brown blitzed from the right side, leaving Harris as the lone deep safety. Harris was late in doubling Smith, who outleapt and outmuscled Tillman for the ball.

    Again, the execution failed the scheme.

    In a desperate attempt to contain Smith later in the game, the Bears went to a three-deep scheme. But injuries and execution were to blame when Smith raced downfield and grabbed a 39-yard touchdown pass.

    With Brown (calf), Harris (cramps) and cornerback Jerry Azumah (hip) on the sideline, third-string cornerback Chris Thompson was summoned from the bench and ended up across from Smith. Delhomme spotted the mismatch immediately and, well, that was that.

    Lovie Smith said the corners should have been playing deeper in the "Cover-3" scheme. However, he offered no convincing argument to explain why Thompson was on Smith while Pro Bowl cornerback Nathan Vasher was on the other side of the field.

    Sunday's game in Chicago also magnified the importance of a pass rush in a "Tampa-2" scheme.

    In their 13-3 victory over the Panthers, the Bears registered eight sacks. Sunday, they notched one.

    "We just changed some things scheme-wise to account for stuff they like to do," Carolina guard Mike Wahle said. "On some of our bread-and-butter plays, we just moved one guy back, the off guard or the center, and were able to pick up their stuff.

    "Plus," Wahle added, "our coaches had seen them once before. We could tell when they were going to stunt and things like that."

    Did the Bears change anything from that first game?

    "Nothing whatsoever," Fox said. "But we only scored three points the last time. I didn't expect them to do much different, and they didn't."

    Look out, Mr. Holmgren. The league's most underrated coach will be on his way soon.
    "From the fury of the Northmen, O Lord, save us!"
    -- From a monestary in Ireland.

  2. #2
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    Re: Vikings may want to think twice about the 'Tampa-2'

    I think once we have the right personnel in place we will be fine. Just a matter of getting the proper players.

    The big question is going to be, will Childress be able to make adjustments on the fly?

  3. #3
    NodakPaul's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings may want to think twice about the 'Tampa-2'

    "OldManVike" wrote:
    (Edited by NodakPaul)

    ... Can't blame that one on the scheme...Again, the execution failed the scheme...Delhomme spotted the mismatch immediately and, well, that was that...Lovie Smith said the corners should have been playing deeper in the "Cover-3" scheme. However, he offered no convincing argument to explain why Thompson was on Smith while Pro Bowl cornerback Nathan Vasher was on the other side of the field...Sunday's game in Chicago also magnified the importance of a pass rush in a "Tampa-2" scheme..
    The most important thing to take from that article is that the execution failed, not the defensive scheme. The Cover-2 is still going to be a good fit fot the Vikes.
    Zeus wrote:
    When are you going to realize that picking out the 20 bad throws this year and ignoring the 300 good ones does not make your point?

    =Z=

  4. #4
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    Re: Vikings may want to think twice about the 'Tampa-2'

    Any defensive scheme can fail. It is about execution, personnel, and coaching. There is not a scheme that will make a team domiante forever. You have to be able to make adjustments based on the teams you are playing.

    Obviously, the Bears did not make the correct adjustments.

  5. #5
    snowinapril's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings may want to think twice about the 'Tampa-2'

    I think that the COlts could have used Phat Pat to help stop the run.

    Also, the Bears should proved in the first meeting with Fox & The Panthers that the Tampa Hybrid of cover 2 does work. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. IMO, the more complete team won on Sunday.

  6. #6
    Mr. Purple's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings may want to think twice about the 'Tampa-2'

    The Bears over-raited secondary was exposed against the Panthers.Thier Line didnt get any pressure, and that left thier secondary to get picked apart bye Jake and Smith.

    Theres NOTHING greater then a Florida Gator!
    "I promise everyone this. When Childress is let go in two years I can honestly say this.
    "I am not surprised"."-PurplePackerEater

  7. #7
    snowinapril's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings may want to think twice about the 'Tampa-2'

    "WilliamsonOfTroy" wrote:
    The Bears over-raited secondary was exposed against the Panthers.Thier Line didnt get any pressure, and that left thier secondary to get picked apart bye Jake and Smith.
    I think we must give credit to the O line of the Panthers also. They are a great group of linemen that are playing well right now. The first meeting, they struggled with the ChiTown D and this time they picked it up a notch.

  8. #8
    Ddawg84's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings may want to think twice about the 'Tampa-2'

    Yeah.. but it is tough to say that our cover 2 scheme might not work once we get the right personnel based on what happened to the bears on sunday. They were not the #1 Defense in the NFL with Tampa right up there too, while running the cover 2 for nothin! Timlin will do fine... and the Bears destroyed Carolina during the regular season with there defense... so just relax... Carlonia, and a good game plan and executed it to perfection and the bears didn't, plain and simple!!!


    good ridance cotrell!!!

  9. #9
    Mr. Purple's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings may want to think twice about the 'Tampa-2'

    Just like Ultra said...thier is no Defense that cant be beat. The cover 2 has its flaws just like the 4-3, and 3-4. (both we ran this year) The Panthers just like the steelers came into thier game and executed thier game plan.

    Theres NOTHING greater then a Florida Gator!
    "I promise everyone this. When Childress is let go in two years I can honestly say this.
    "I am not surprised"."-PurplePackerEater

  10. #10
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    Re: Vikings may want to think twice about the 'Tampa-2'

    "MnFan_in_Canada" wrote:
    The big question is going to be, will Childress be able to make adjustments on the fly?
    This gets back to an earlier quote of Childress:

    "Brad Childress" wrote:
    "When you prepare (for a game) at this level, it's all laying in front of you right there. It's not appropriate to go out of the box and pull something that's not on the game-plan sheet. This is such a segmented game now that you've got your calls on third-and-3 or 4, or third-and-short, or inside the five-yard line.
    I just hope he wasn't serious. Good coaches make adjustments as the game goes on, like a chess match.

    The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good -Samuel Johnson - lexicographer
    The word genius isn t applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein - Joe Theisman

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