As the Chicago Bears prepare for their Week 12 Monday night matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, defensive backs coach Jon Hoke recognizes the challenge posed by quarterback Joshua Dobbs.
Dobbs, a journeyman, stepped in for the injured Kirk Cousins and impressed with two consecutive wins against the Falcons and Saints, and a competitive performance against the Denver Broncos.
Hoke, speaking to the media, praised Dobbs’s intelligence and mobility, acknowledging the quarterback’s ability to adapt quickly after being traded from the Arizona Cardinals to the Vikings. Despite having limited time to learn the playbook, Dobbs showcased his mobility and football IQ.
Hoke particularly emphasized Dobbs’s impressive mobility, evident since his college days at Tennessee and highlighted by his 389 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns, three of which came in his three starts with the Vikings. This mobility poses a unique challenge for the Bears, who have defended against the traditional pocket passing style of Kirk Cousins for the past five seasons.
Preparing for Dobbs’s scrambling ability requires adjustments in defensive strategies, especially in rush lanes and man coverage. Hoke stressed the need for disciplined rush lanes and smart coverage decisions to counteract Dobbs’s dual-threat capabilities.
With Dobbs bringing a different dynamic to the Vikings’ offense, Hoke aims to guide the Bears secondary in monitoring receivers closely while staying vigilant for Dobbs’s potential runs, a factor less prominent when Cousins was leading the team.
The ability to contain Dobbs within the pocket and exploit the absence of All-Pro receiver Justin Jefferson in the Vikings’ lineup will be crucial for the Bears to secure a divisional win under head coach Matt Eberflus.