In an article written on the Bears’ website, Larry Mayer wrote an article that just glossed over an answer to a question many thought would be different-what type of base defense will the Bears use in 2014?
In 2013, the Bears defense gave up the most yards and most points in franchise history. Yes, most of that was due to injuries, but it was also because players were playing out of positions. Of course, others thought it was all because of Mel Tucker.
After such a dismal season, many thought the Bears would switch to a 3-4 base. This would help certain players. Shea McClellin, for example, could move to linebacker after pretty much taking a beating for two seasons as a small defensive end. Jonathan Bostic would be able to adjust better with another linebacker to help.
Instead of hearing about the switch, Mayer writes that the Bears will remain in a 4-3 base scheme. The Bears feel, however, that having coaches with experience in different schemes will allow them to utilize the players’ best abilities.
“It’s a matter of being able to utilize the people that we have and be ready to do whatever it’s going to take with a system that’s flexible enough to do it,” head coach Marc Trestman said. “It’s making sure we have a scheme that can utilize our players and bring the best out of them.”
The Bears are looking to bring back the overwhelming pressure that not only causes turnovers but also scores. This has been a staple of Chicago Bears football.
General manager Phil Emery talked about the 2014 priority. ”Right now our priority is adding playmakers on defense… The number one goal of our defense will always be to score points because when your defense scores your chances of winning are astronomically high compared to when they don’t.”
Since 2005, the Bears are 26-2 when the defense scores. Most of that has been with some weak offenses, so if the defense can score with the offense the Bears had in 2013, it would bode well for the season.
While one question was answered, it opened up a few others.
Now that we know about the scheme, will McClellin still move to the linebacker slot or will he be a rotational player?
Will there be a compromise with Julius Peppers? Will he be agreeable to restructuring his contract?
Will the new scheme force Bostic to be a backup, and if so will the DJ Williams experience begin in earnest in 2014?
Trestman and Emery will meet with the media on Thursday in Indianapolis at the NFL combine. Perhaps then there may be some clarification on the scheme.
We should have some definitive answers on the defense on March 11th, the day free agency begins. What we do know now is that Emery, Trestman, and Tucker have their work cut out for them.