Chicago Bears: Edge rusher woes very concerning

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears defense wants to become a top-five unit, but the lack of a threat from the outside linebacker position could make that difficult in 2018.

Anyone that watches football knows that a really good defense usually has a consistent threat (or threats) on the outside that opposing quarterbacks have to worry about. The Denver Broncos have Von Miller, who is arguably the league’s best 3-4 outside linebacker. In the same division, the Kansas City Chiefs have Justin Houston.

Some teams have the benefit of two like the Houston Texans with Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Merciless. The Chicago Bears have to deal with that problem in their own division with Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter with the Minnesota Vikings. These teams will definitely be in the mix towards the end of the year because of their ability to get after the quarterback.

The Bears have a very good defense with a lot of intriguing pieces. The defensive end group looks deep headlined by Akiem Hicks. The linebacker position has a lot of promise with Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith.  Additionally, the secondary is a tough unit to pass on. Certainly, the defense could be top ten again in 2018, but the reason fans and experts are not ready to put them with the Vikings, Texans, and Rams of the world is because of the question mark at edge rusher.

The news this week is that Leonard Floyd will likely play with a club on his hand for the first month of the season after suffering a fractured finger. The pass rush was a question mark before this injury. Outside of Floyd, the Bears don’t have much at the position in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Kirk Cousins.

They brought in Aaron Lynch, however, the guy hasn’t practiced since the start of camp. Isaiah Irving flashed a lot in the Hall of Fame game and just simply disappeared the next two games. Kylie Fitts also shined in that game, but he too didn’t show much these past two games.

The depth is so questionable that fans calling for Lynch to be released will be highly disappointed. Ryan Pace’s lack of attention to the position this past offseason make it almost a certainty that Lynch will on the final roster. At this point, it would be foolish to cut keep him since there’s simply nothing behind him (sorry, we know how the Sam Acho story will play out this season).

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No one is to blame, but Pace. This positional need was starring him right in the face the minute last season ended. However, Pace decided to bypass it in both free agency and the draft. In a division that has Rodgers, Stafford, and Cousins, Pace opted to go the cheap route on arguably the second most important position in football.

This has the makings to blow up in Pace’s face. The Bears better hope Floyd is able to take that next step in being a dominant outside edge rusher. Lynch can be that compliment pass rusher to Floyd. If not it can be a frustrating year for this defense that is close to being a top-five unit.