Let’s continue our coverage of each team’s coaching scheme.

If you didn’t catch the divisions already covered, just click the links below:

AFC East (this page also includes a glossary of offensive and defensive schemes)

AFC North

AFC South

AFC West

NFC East

Time to check out the next NFC division.

NFC North

Chicago Bears

Head CoachMatt Nagy3rd year
Offensive CoordinatorBill Lazor1st year
Defensive CoordinatorChuck Pagano2nd year
Offensive SystemWest Coast Offense 
Blocking SchemeZone 
Matt Nagy -- HC    Bill Lazor -- OC   
Category2017 (KC OC)20182019 Category2017 (CIN OC)2018 (CIN OC)2019
Points6929 Points2617N/A
Pace303017 Pace1312N/A
Pass Attempts172414 Pass Attempts1825N/A
Passing Yards72125 Passing Yards2427N/A
Rushing Attempts23620 Rushing Attempts2926N/A
Rushing Yards91127 Rushing Yards3121N/A

Offensive Breakdown: Despite the fact that head coach Matt Nagy turned over a large portion of his offensive coaching staff, the scheme is still going to be the exact same as Nagy installed when he first arrived in Chicago two season ago. A disciple of the Andy Reid coaching tree, Nagy continues to run a west coast offense that has a lot of complicated pre-snap motion to confuse the defense and relies on quick-hitting timing throws that get the receivers running in space and picking up chunks of yards after the catch. He’ll also utilize a number of deep routes to lure the safeties and linebackers into coverage to open up the middle of the field.

Nagy likes pass-catchers for running backs as that versatility opens up numerous options for him both on the ground and through the air. They use a zone-blocking scheme and a lot of inside-zone runs as the base, but while many use the ground game to set up the pass, Nagy likes to keep the defenses on its heels and, once the middle of the field is open, get his backs into that second level of the defense.

So while the system remains the same, the change to Bill Lazor as OC and John DeFilippo as the new QB coach is strictly for interpretation of the offense. Basically, Nagy wants these guys to simplify the offense for the QB and the rest of the offensive personnel. What is even more telling is that both Lazor and DeFilippo have extensive experience with newly -acquired QB Nick Foles . The fact that Mitchell Trubisky regressed so heavily last year and that Nagy is on the hot seat this season, the world assuming that Foles will be taking over the job. Probably a safe assumption, but we’ll see in camp soon enough.     

Players Who Fit the System Best: Nick Foles , Allen Robinson , Jimmy Graham

Defensive System: 3-4 with Cover-2 and man-coverage

Defensive Breakdown: Last season, Chuck Pagano maintained the base defense Vic Fangio built here in Chicago and utilized the versatility of his players to set up some multi-front looks. He also flipped between zone and man-coverage, but unfortunately, failed to disguise the coverage the way Fangio did and his packages became a little too predictable. So if the base remains the same again, what’s going to be different? Good question.

Pagano loves to use dime packages, so we could see five defensive backs a little more often, but that could be a bit of a struggle as well, given the amount of turnover they had. Gone are Prince Amukamara and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix , and while Jaylon Johnson was a nice pick-up, he still has work to do to beat out Buster Skrine in the time of COVID and limited work with the team. Veteran safety Tashaun Gipson comes over from Houston, but this unit is likely to be shaky in coverage.

Overall, if Pagano doesn’t learn to disguise his pass-rush and coverage better, this defense will remain predictable and therefore get picked apart. The linebackers can only do so much, especially when it’s built with pass-rushers.

Players Who Fit the System Best: Khalil Mack , Roquan Smith , Eddie Jackson , Kyle Fuller

Detroit Lions

Head CoachMatt Patricia3rd year
Offensive CoordinatorDarrell Bevell2nd year
Defensive CoordinatorCory Undlin1st year
Offensive SystemWest Coast 
Blocking SchemePower 
Matt Patricia -- HC    Darrell Bevell -- OC   
Category2017 (NE)20182019 Category2017 (SEA OC)20182019
PointsDC2518 Points11N/A18
PaceDC239 Pace9N/A9
Pass AttemptsDC1117 Pass Attempts16N/A17
Passing YardsDC2010 Passing Yards14N/A10
Rushing AttemptsDC1816 Rushing Attempts20N/A16
Rushing YardsDC2321 Rushing Yards23N/A21

Offensive Breakdown: As was mentioned in the Coaches on the Hot Seat article, Matt Patricia needs this team to start firing on all cylinders if he wants to keep his job. Regardless of Matthew Stafford ’s injury last season, a 9-22 record over two years after you were the darling hire coming off your time with the Patriots just isn’t going to cut it. But Patricia doesn’t run the offense. He lingers on the defensive side of the ball. Hi sonly request of his offense is they maintain a run-heavy scheme.

Last year, Patricia brought in long-time coordinator Darrel Bevell who helped create the Seattle offense with Russell Wilson at the helm. Bevell’s west coast scheme was very reliant on Wilson’s mobility but utilized Marshawn Lynch heavily to set-up the pass. When he lost Lynch, he turned to a more pass-happy system but failed to return the Seahawks to where they were prior to having lost that Super Bowl. A return to the old run-heavy scheme flipped a switch in the offense and Seattle began to roll again. That is what Patricia is looking for from Bevell in Detroit. That didn’t happen last year, but thanks to some key personnel moves in the offseason, the Lions are hoping to turn things around.

The team rebuilt part of the offensive line and drafted D’Andre Swift to give them a strong 1-2 punch out of the backfield. They’ll stay with the west coast base but will lean heavier on the running game than typical west coast offenses do. The workload split between Kerryon Johnson and Swift is not yet fully known, but you can expect to see some more 2-RB sets with the hope of confusing the defense. They’ll utilize more pre-snap motion to split Swift and T.J. Hockenson wide while leaving Johnson in the backfield, giving Stafford more options. Those different looks will also help free up the receivers as the linebackers are struggling to cover faster RBs and TEs. That should cause safeties to pinch in leaving more single-coverage downfield.

If the Lions can stay healthy and actually pull this off, especially at an up-tempo pace, they just might save Patricia’s job. 

Players Who Fit the System Best: Matthew Stafford , D’Andre Swift, Kerryon Johnson , T.J. Hockenson

Defensive System: multi-front with Cover-2 base coverage

Defensive Breakdown: Patricia opted to make a change at DC this year, going with Cory Undlin who spent the last five seasons as the Eagles defensive backs coach but traces his roots back to the Patriots in 2004 where he and Patricia both worked and lived together. Undlin will bounce between 3-4 and 4-3 looks which can free up the defensive ends depending on the offensive formation. Additionally, the hope here is that Undlin has his secondary in top form so he doesn’t have to force his linebackers into a world of coverage. That will allow them to focus on the pass-rush, stopping the run and preventing anyone from reaching that next level of the defense. Expect the secondary to stay in zone coverage for the most part, but with talent like Jeff Okudah and Desmond Trufant on the outside, they should be able to handle man-coverage when necessary.

Players Who Fit the System Best: Trey Flowers , Jamie Collins , Jeff Okudah

Green Bay Packers

Head CoachMatt LaFleur2nd year
Offensive CoordinatorNathaniel Hackett2nd year
Defensive CoordinatorMike Pettine3rd year
Offensive SystemWest Coast Offense 
Blocking SchemeZone 
Matt LaFleur -- HC    Nathaniel Hackett -- OC   
Category2017 (LAR OC)2018 (TEN OC)2019 Category2017 (JAC OC)2018 (JAC OC)2019
Points12715 Points53115
Pace142828 Pace181928
Pass Attempts243116 Pass Attempts211916
Passing Yards102917 Passing Yards172617
Rushing Attempts9913 Rushing Attempts11213
Rushing Yards8715 Rushing Yards11915

Offensive Breakdown: The biggest question when discussing Matt LaFleur’s offense last year wasn’t as much identifying the scheme but whether Aaron Rodgers would buy into it. LaFleur likes to run a West Coast base offense that consists of short, quick passes to set up the bigger pass-plays downfield and a lot more running than the Packers had done in previous seasons. Well, Rodgers bought into it and while the overall offense was just middling in regard to statistical rankings among the 32 teams, the Packers managed to win 13 games and were just one game away from the Super Bowl. Rodgers posted solid totals, Aaron Jones had a breakout campaign thanks to a touchdown bonanza and Davante Adams entrenched himself as one of the best receivers in the game.

So easy-peasy this year, right? Well, maybe not. The Packers failed to get Rodgers any new weapons for this season and, what’s worse, they traded up to draft his replacement, Jordan Love. We could see some cataclysmic dysfunction here if LaFleur and Rodgers don’t kiss and make up. One way they could do that is through an infusion in RPO like we expected to see LaFleur do last season. If he does, he puts the decision-making on Rodgers shoulders, something the veteran quarterback wants very much. We aren’t expecting any sweeping changes, though, so just keep that in mind when drafting fantasy players.

Players Who Fit the System Best: Aaron Rodgers , Aaron Jones , Davante Adams , Jace Sternberger (if they really do line him up in the slot more)

Defensive System: 3-4 base with man-coverage

Defensive Breakdown: Mike Pettine likes the 3-4 base scheme, but will use a four-man front if he feels he’s up against a run. He wants his front-seven to be versatile and able to adjust on the fly, so recognition of the offense is going to be key. He likes to use man-coverage, usually press, on the outside which not only allows the front-seven to be more aggressive in the pass-rush, but also the safeties who won’t need to drift as much if the coverage is tight.

Players Who Fit the System Best: Kenny Clark , Preston Smith , Jaire Alexader

Minnesota Vikings

Head CoachMike Zimmer7th year
Offensive CoordinatorGary Kubiak1st year
Defensive CoordinatorAdam Zimmer/Andre Patterson1st year
Offensive SystemWest Coast Offense 
Blocking SchemeZone 
Mike Zimmer -- HC    Gary Kubiak -- OC   
Category201720182019 Category201720182019
Points10198 PointsN/AN/AASST. HC
Pace251113 PaceN/AN/AASST. HC
Pass Attempts21630 Pass AttemptsN/AN/AASST. HC
Passing Yards111323 Passing YardsN/AN/AASST. HC
Rushing Attempts2274 Rushing AttemptsN/AN/AASST. HC
Rushing Yards7306 Rushing YardsN/AN/AASST. HC

Offensive Breakdown: While the Vikings lost OC Kevin Stefanski to the Browns, their offensive scheme is going to remain completely intact as Gary Kubiak steps in to take over the job. Yes, the same Kubiak who served as the assistant head coach last year but installed his own offense thanks to the addition of Rick Dennison, his partner in crime and offensive line guru. Together, the two of them helped bring both the Denver and Houston rushing attacks to the top of the mountain back in the day and they did it again last year as Dalvin Cook became one of the most successful RBs in the league and the most-coveted in fantasy.

So that means we’re looking at Kubiak’s west coast offense where the ground attack is first and foremost (lots of inside and outside zone stretch runs) and from there, we’ll see plenty of short, quick passes to move the ball downfield as well as plenty of 2-TE sets to help with both blocking and pass-catching. The run-heavy scheme will help them open up a lot more play-action which definitely caters to the type of QB we expect Kirk Cousins to be. Mike Zimmer wants him to be turnover-free while fantasy owners want him to throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns each week. We should get something in the middle once again.

Players Who Fit the System Best: Kirk Cousins , Dalvin Cook , Adam Thielen

Defensive System: 4-3 base with man-coverage

Defensive Breakdown: After years of working together with George Edwards, Zimmer lost his longtime DC to a senior advisor job in Dallas which meant he was going to have to find a replacement. Of course, that wouldn’t be too difficult, considering the defensive scheme is Zimmer’s and all he needed was someone who would utilize his same 4-3 base with man-coverage in the secondary and not fight him for play-calling duties.

He found that internally as he promoted both his defensive line coach, Andre Patterson, and his linebackers coach (and son), Adam Zimmer to the position of co-defensive coordinators. Patterson and the younger Zimmer will maintain the same scheme, working tirelessly to stop the run and develop their linebackers and defensive backs to handle the man-coverage (and press-man coverage) assignments. It’s not going to be easy, given the turnover in the secondary, but if rookie Jeff Gladney is as-advertised, they shouldn’t have too much trouble. Expect him to be tested early in the season though.

Players Who Fit the System Best: Danielle Hunter , Anthony Barr , Harrison Smith