Ever since Aaron Rodgers threw the game-winning touchdown that ended the their season, the questions surrounding the Chicago Bears have focused on one thing-how can they improve the dismal defense?
General manager Phil Emery worked hard on answering those questions. He brought in some help through free agency (Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Willie Young, Ryan Mundy, M.D. Jennings), drafted help (Kyle Fuller, Willie Sutton, Brock Vereen), re-signed some key players (Charles Tillman, Israel Idonije), and even brought in some new coaches (Paul Pasqualoni, Roger Herring, and Clint Hurtt). This offseason, defense was certainly a priority.
Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker was under fire from fans after last season’s dismal performance. The criticism was unfair, however. He inherited an old defense, and one that broke down. He did not have the personnel to make the schematic changes to fulfill his vision for the defense.
This season all eyes are on him. Emery went out and gave him the type of players Tucker needs. Tucker is in the same position now as head coach Marc Trestman was with the offense last season. Can Tucker pull off what Trestman did?
The Bears are said to be using a hybrid defense. As such, they have some hybrid players. Houston has played everywhere on the defensive line. Idonije can play tackle or end. Fuller has played corner, safety, and linebacker. The Bears now have interchangeable parts which can help in the different schemes the defense will utilize. Also, depth was a real problem last season. Having so many players able to play different positions helps in that matter.
With the new coaches, the Bears have experience. Pasqualoni spent fourteen years as head coach of Syracuse. Herring coached at the collegiate level for 25 years, and eight in the NFL. He has helped players like Brian Cushing and DeMarcus Ware. Hurtt has coached for thirteen years in college with Louisville, Miami, and Florida International. Tucker feels the experience will help the team. “At the top level here, where the best compete, the success is measured in inches. So when you have experienced coaching, experienced staff, that can often times help define the winning edge.”
The Bears were torched by their opposition’s running game last year. The defensive line could not stop anyone. In addition to drafting Will Sutton and Ego Ferguson, the Bears have thirteen other defensive linemen trying to make the team. The team is looking at all options to turn the line around.
There is a lot of change going on with the Chicago Bears. Changes in personnel, coaching, and schemes. The foundation for all that change starts at the OTAs. ‘‘We’re really going to work to lay the foundation on our base principles and techniques during organized team activities,’’ Tucker said. ‘‘It will allow us to do pretty much anything we want to do down the road.’’
The Bears have made a concerted effort to change things on defense. If they can have a portion of the turnaround the offense had a season ago, the team could finally be a serious contender, and not be on the edge hoping for one win to get in.