Chicago Bears OLB Jared Allen Expecting Improvement In 2015


Dec 28, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago Bears defensive lineman Jared Allen (69) after the game against the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. The Minnesota Vikings win 13-9. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing 2014 season with the Chicago Bears, Jared Allen is expecting improvement in 2015. Allen will be entering his second season with the Bears while playing in a new position as he will be an outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s system. 

Chicago Bears outside linebacker Jared Allen is convinced that the Chicago Bears’ defense will be better during the 2015 season than they were during the 2014 season.

Allen spoke with ESPN Chicago recently and shed light on why he feels that the defense will be better.

“I think we were one of the worst [last year] so we have to be better. It’s totally different though. Everything is different. It’s kind of a fresh start. In defenses I’ve been in over the years overall, and being in this scheme, this is a fun defense to play in. There’s a high-level of accountability for everybody and I’ve always felt that breeds greatness. There are no excuses. Either you are right or you are wrong, and you have the freedom to make plays. I think the sky is the limit for us, I really do.”

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The 2014 season was an especially difficult season for Allen. Allen, who battled pneumonia at the start of the season, finished the 2014 season with only 5.5 sacks and 55 combined tackles.

Entering the 2015 season, Allen is switching positions. Allen is going from a 4-3 defensive end to being a 3-4 outside linebacker under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Allen told ESPN Chicago that he has been studying various players across the league to help with his transition to a new position.

“Yeah, I’ve got film…. We watch a lot of Niners film, obviously. But I’ve got film of Aldon Smith on my iPad. I’ve got DeMarcus Ware. I’m looking at Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, and a lot of these 3-4 guys, to learn the different rush angles. It is slightly different when you’ve got your hand in the ground on what you can do. Watching them and understanding foot concepts and getting your feeling on what can be able to work and take what I do and see if it’s still effective, even though I’m standing up. I’m always studying. It’s actually cool watching different players that I might not watch during the season because of different styles. And I’ll try to mash those up.”

Throughout his career, Allen has been opposed to a switch to a 3-4 outside linebacker. Though, with it officially happening with Fangio, Allen has changed his tune. Allen’s optimism over playing in a 3-4 defense may be the result of the coaching he is receiving from the Bears’ new coaching staff.

“It’s just different coaches, a different approach with different coaches. There’s a reason these coaches are very successful. I love the way that Vic explains it. And then coach [Clint] Hurtt, I didn’t really get it last year, but he’s phenomenal coach and the breakdown of it. It is [different]. They’re just going to yell at you about being in wrong place or right spot. They’re going to teach you where, what, why and how you’re supposed to be there. For me, that makes it easy. And to install something, watch the film on it and then bring out to the practice field and then go back and watch it, it is cool. It’s almost methodical. But at the same time, they’re going to test you, they’re going to put you in some situations that are going to be a little stressful and they want to see how you react as a football player.”

The Bears certainly do have an All-Star assembly of coaches with John Fox as the head coach followed by Adam Gase as the offensive coordinator and Fangio as the defensive coordinator. The issue is that this is the first time in the history of the Bears’ organization that the team will be running a base 3-4 defense. Coaching, especially in the NFL, can only get a team so far. Eventually, the players will need to show that they are talented enough. Talent is something that the Bears, especially on the defensive side of the ball, have been lacking recently.

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