Corey Wootton is known for one thing and one thing only. He is the defensive player responsible for effectively ending Brett Favre’s career on December 20, 2010. That was Wootton’s rookie season, and the 4th round draft pick has done little prior to this year to convince the Bears to offer him an extension. However, the defensive end is enjoying a very impressive first five games to the 2012 campaign, recording 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He had two sacks in the most recent game against Jacksonville, so let’s figure out if they were scheme sacks, or Wootton Domination.
In this first still, you’ll notice Wootton (pink circle) lined up wide outside of the Jacksonville right tackle.There’s no mug-front, no trickery at all on this play. This is the play that resulted in Wootton’s sack-fumble of Jags QB Blaine Gabbert. As shown in the still, there were 2:00 left in the 2nd quarter, and the score was 3-3.
As you can see in this second still, there was no blitz at all. The D-Line rushed the QB, and the LBs and CBs were playing a blanket coverage with both safeties (not pictured) playing deep to prevent the deep pass. Wootton, however, has beaten his man on a speed rush to his right shoulder. Several fans have wondered if Wootton was offisides/in the neutral zone on this play, but it appears he simply timed the snap to perfection. Had Gabbert had more time, he may have been able to find a WR on a hitch route.
Once he beat the RT as quickly as he did, and with no one to help on his side, Wootton got his hand on the ball prior to the forward arm motion by Gabbert, and the fumble was recovered by DE Julius Peppers.
Transitioning from the first Wootton sack to the second, one needs to realize the differences between the two plays. First and foremost, it is now a 31 point lead for the Bears instead of a 3-3 tie. On top of that, we’re halfway through the 4th quarter. Given the circumstances, Jacksonville is likely looking for big chunks of yardage with every play. Wootton (again, pink circle) is once again lined up outside of the right tackle. The Bears are showing their Mug Front on this play.
As you can see in the following still, Gabbert has a relatively clean pocket as all three LBs dropped out to cover the middle of the field. Wootton attempt to rush outside of the RT (which he successfully did on his first sack), but is being blocked adequately.
However when Gabbert steps up in the pocket, he steps up into Wootton’s path. A lot of this play appears to be the coverage as there was nearly 4 seconds between the snap and the sack, but Wootton needs to be commended for not giving up on the play, and continually pushing towards the QB.
In this still, Wootton has shed his blocker and wrapped his arms around Gabbert. The effort by the DE is commendable on this play, and once he started the sack process he got help from teammates to ensure Gabbert wasn’t getting away.One important thing to note was that neither sack occurred on a blitz. Wootton beat the RT on both plays, 1-on-1.
Ladies and gentlemen, now is an incredible time to be a Bears fan. Brian Urlacher is currently considered the weakest link on the defense. Read that again, because more than anything else it shows the strength of the beloved. If our defense can continue playing at the level they’ve played at through the first four games, great things are in store for us.
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