I was watching the Bears vs Falcons game today and noticed that the Falcons had their TE open most of the day. Austin Hooper made some big catches including a 88 yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan putting the Falcons up 20-10 in the 4th quarter. Here is the play via twitter and what a stiff arm at the end.
🚨🚨🚨 austin hooper breakout season starting 🚨🚨🚨 pic.twitter.com/P7DTNtdEgE
— charles mcdonald (@FourVerts) September 10, 2017
The Bears defense has a solid front seven but their linebackers are not the greatest in coverage and it was exposed today. Falcons tight end Austin Hooper had a couple of big catches and frankly the team did not go to him enough. With that being said, the Bears defense still did a great job today holding the Falcons to 23 points which is saying something. The Falcons couldn’t get the ground game going all day but they finally made the adjustments in the 4th quarter and found the mismatches via TE Austin Hooper. With the Bears being the Bucs first opponent, I expect coach Koetter to see this and utilize his tight end duo all game.
The Bucs have two good tight ends in Cameron Brate and OJ Howard who should be able to create mismatches against the Bears linebackers and secondary. The Bucs have plenty of options to choose from and still would expect them to be balanced but look for Jameis to have a big day. With Brate already being a favorite target for Jameis, look for the Bucs to isolate him often and take advantage. The x-factor will be how the Bucs use OJ Howard as I feel the team was hiding him in preseason and this Sunday we will finally see what he is fully capable of. With the Bucs O-line not being the best at pass protection, I would expect the Bucs to try to spread the Bears defense out and keep a back or tight end in to help pass protect. If Jameis has decent time in the pocket, there should be big plays for Brate and Howard all day. This is just one of the mismatches that the Bucs should target this week vs the Bears and we will have more as we get closer to next Sunday’s home opener.