The Bears' organized team activities pretty much have wound down. The next opportunity to get better will be the June 12-14 minicamp. I would guesstimate that roughly 80-85 percent of the schematic install is complete on both offense, defense and special teams. Installed material will be repeated once again during the next mini-camp along with new wrinkles and additions.
Its tough to cover every situation during OTAs like, for example, the four-minute drill (running out the clock situation). Players are not in pads, which makes it difficult to accurately reflect the pressure and intensity this situation commands. The four-minute situation will be hammered upon during training camp when it can be conducted live, in full pads, in a true game-like atmosphere to teach its significance upon a game. The Bears' coaches have a great teaching tool on tape from 2011 of how the four-minute situation can determine a win or loss. I dont think I need to remind Bears fans of the critical error by former running back, Marion Barber, who elected to run out of bounds versus the Denver Broncos, thus stopping the clock. Poor execution by Barber on this one play resulted in a Chicago loss to Denver.
The two-minute situation should receive some adequate attention this upcoming minicamp. Considering how many NFL games actually come down to the two-minute drill is why it is emphasized so heavily. It will easily get two days of actual work during the Bears' three-day minicamp. The two-minute drill can also be accurately simulated offensively and defensively as you can physically move the ball creating down and distance situations. Jay Cutler and the offense will be presented situations like:
First and 10 on your own 35-yard line, one timeout remaining, 1:10 left on the clock and Bears are down by four points. Obviously, the offense needs to score a touchdown to win.
First and 10 on your own 10-yard line, three timeouts remaining, 1:45 left on the clock, Bears down 21-20. Thus, the offense needs to, at minimum, position the team for a field goal to win.
There are numerous scenarios coaches could present during a two-minute situation. Its a terrific drill for both offense and defense because both sides have to play the situation presented. It also is extremely competitive as both sides are challenged to execute. Its competitive because there is a true winner and loser during this particular period during practice and players love that.
The two-minute drill most likely has already been introduced to players earlier in OTAs, but with so many situations for coaches to cover, the drill can never be practiced enough. Different plays from three-by-one sets (three wide receivers to one side and one lone wide receiver to the other) or two-by-two sets (two wide receivers on each side of the football) are covered and specifically game-planned when they should be called. It forces players to know their playbook and think quickly because time is of the essence.
Its why this column was titled Quicker. The Bears' final minicamp is quickly approaching, training camp will quickly be upon them, and then the season opener will quickly be here. The quicker the Bears address these situations, the better chance for success in 2012.