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(CBS) The glaring question as the Bears prepare to take on the Lions is simple: How do you stop Calvin Johnson? The answer is much more complex.
Matt Bowen of The National Football Post and Chicago Tribune thinks the Bears Cover-2 defensive scheme may be the way to stop the 6-foot-5-inch receiver who has eight touchdowns through the first four games of the season.
“It fits what Lovie preaches when he coaches Cover-2,” Bowen told The Mully and Hanley Show on Thursday. “If you want to stop the deep ball in Cover-2, you have your safeties play at little bit deeper against a guy like Calvin Johnson. Maybe instead of lining up at 15 (yards deep) you put them at 18 (yards deep). Who cares? You’re taking away the deep ball. That’s why you’re back there. You tell those front four guys, ‘Hey, if you hit (Lions quarterback Matthew) Stafford, we don’t have to play the deep ball.’ (The ball) can’t come out when he’s on the ground.”
LISTEN: Matt Bowen on The Mully and Hanley Show
The key to Bowen’s strategy is pressure on the quarterback. If Stafford doesn’t have time to throw, Johnson can’t terrorize the Bears as he did to his first four opponents.
Offensively, the Bears must commit to the run game against the tantalizing front four of the Lions.
“I think you have to try to run the football,” Bowen said. “You can’t be intimidated because they look great up front on paper and even on film. You still have to try to run the ball. I’ve always said this: They’re not a perfect team.”