CHICAGO - OCTOBER 17: Julius Peppers #90 of the Chicago Bears rushes against the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field on October 17 2010 in Chicago Illinois. The Seahawks defeated the Bears 23-20. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Julius Peppers
With Damien Woody out last week, Brian Schottenheimer adjusted his pass protection, mainly to help substitute starting tackle Wayne Hunter against a ferocious pass rush. Backup lineman Robert Turner lined up at tight end and blocked on 11 of the 30 pass plays the Jets ran. Ben Hartsock and LaDainian Tomlinson both served as pass blockers 9 times. LT staying in was especially significant because he blocked on 45% of the passing downs he played. This shows the degree to which Schottenheimer's philosophy changed. Over the course of the season, Tomlinson has been used as a pass blocker on only 24% of passing downs.
With Hunter sticking in the starting lineup, this would be a bad week to go from this formula. The Bears have a fearsome end, Julius Peppers. During his time in Carolina, Peppers always ran hot and cold. He looks like a reborn player this season in Chicago. His motor has been nonstop this season. Peppers is a totally disruptive player. He lines up on both the right and left side, choosing his matchup. Odds are he will look to exploit the backup tackle much more often than D'Brickashaw Fergsuon. Hunter probably will not be able to handle Peppers on his own. Even when Peppers lines up against Ferguson, the other end, Israel Idonije, has been handful this season. Benefitting from the attention his fellow end has received, Idonije has registered 8 sacks, 8 hits, and 26 pressures.
Leaving extra blockers in against the Bears is tricky because they depend on their front four to get a pass rush and drop seven into coverage as their Tampa 2 scheme dictates. Leaving extra men in allows a defense to clog limited passing lanes. The priority is keeping Mark Sanchez up, though. The Jets have quality receivers. They need to depend on these guys to find holes in the zone coverage Chicago typically plays since protecting the quarterback dictates less receivers.