The thought of two probowl talents like Jared Allen, and Jay Ratliff collaborating on terrorizing opponent backfields, and having Quarterbacks wondering who is coming from where, and how fast they’ll get there has to get Bear fans giddy with excitement. Especially hearing the enthusiasm of Allen at Mondays introductory press conference. He talked about how he used to work off of the Williams wall (Pat and Kevin Williams), and than off of Kevin Williams once Pat Williams retired. These are two men who know how to effectively play off another as both have worked with talents in the past to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. Allen with the Williams’, and Ratliff with former Cowboys teammate, hybrid defensive end DeMarcus Ware. So there is a history from both being a dominant force in a tag team attack.
Allen and Ratliff both have an enormous repertoire of moves to work with. Allen uses a speed rush, (which he uses a devastating spin move off of to get inside on occasion), bull rush, double hand rush, single hand rush, and a hump rush. That alone gives a tackle something to think about, but than you throw in a player like Ratliff and now you’re not only thinking about one guy, and how they may attack you, but two guys who at any point may force you to come off one to block the other.
Of course this would be done by various defensive line twists, slants, loops, and stunts. An excellent explanation of this along with other defensive line terminology and explanations of assignments, and strategy can be read here on football outsiders
It also is a big help the Bears have other weapons to deploy on the other side of the line, and also include their pressure scheme in blitz packages involving their linebackers and secondary. Especially Shea McClellin who was tabbed by many to be that 3-4/rover type pass rushing specialist coming out of Boise state. It appears the Bears will have a hybrid approach which should cause enough confusion before the snap to make the Duo’s disruption even more complex, and stressful for opposing offenses to deal with. The possibilities are endless.
Mel Tucker is set up for a bounce back season that should have him endeared by the fan base, and restore his reputation around the league as a legitimate defensive mind.
That’s the kind of impact savvy veterans like Allen and Ratliff can bring to this team. It’s also a big reason why a lot of experts are starting to see the Bears as a viable factor in determining how the NFC Superbowl participant is represented. It is no longer considered insane blind optimism to include the Bears to the mix of contenders for the Lombardi trophy. It appears the defense will be able to provide formidable resistance at all levels of their defense. Some would say safety is an issue still, but we all saw how much better the safety play was (particularly with Conte) when they had competent front seven play.
Now it would appear through personnel, and scheme the Bears will be even better with their front seven to take all kinds of pressure off the back end. With Allen, and Ratliff penetrating the backfield tackling runing backs, (or funneling ball carriers to would be tacklers), and harassing Quarterbacks to throw errant passes their way, the secondary should increase their interception numbers significantly from last season. Just another benefit this newly forged tandem will provide with the domino affect it will cause.