The top defenses in the NFL have been on display this weekend during the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. That should come to no surprise to Chicago Bears fans as defensive struggles was the main reason why the team did not advance beyond the regular season in 2013.
Because of the struggles, there was a growing sense that the Bears should part ways with defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.
On Sunday, the Bears announced that Tucker will be retained as the defensive coordinator. In the announcement, the Bears announced that the team has parted ways with defensive line coach Mike Phair and linebacker coach Tim Tibesar but the rest of head coach March Trestman’s staff will remain in place.
The news of Tucker returning to the Bears for the 2014 season is somewhat surprising. At the end of the season press conference, Trestman and general manager Phil Emery seemed to indicate that the injuries on the defensive side of the ball were no excuse for poor play. The lack of support from Emery and Trestman for Tucker seemed to add fuel to the speculation that the Bears were looking to make a change at the defensive coordinator position.
In a statement on Sunday, Trestman instilled confidence in Tucker as the Bears defensive coordinator.
“We believe Mel is the right person to lead our defensive unit.”-Marc Trestman
The Bears defensive unit is an unit was ranked towards the bottom-half of nearly every defensive category last season. No category was more telling than the Bears defense against the run. The Bears possessed the worst run defense in the NFL last season as opposing teams rushed for 161.4 yards per game.
In the off-season, the Bears will undoubtedly look to improve their defense. The Bears are expected to target the defensive line with their first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft while also looking for ways to improve at the safety position.
If the Bears are able to correct their defensive struggles in 2014, then the team may be playing past week 17 a year from now.