Chicago Bears: Is something special brewing on defense?

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

The Chicago Bears are 3-1 and on top of the NFC North after the first quarter of the 2018 NFL season. Do the Bears have something special building on defense?

A lot of good times in the windy city with the Chicago Bears out to a 3-1 start and coming off a 48-10 blowout win. The win showed when all three phases; offense, defense, and special teams are playing up to their potential. The story of the game was the offense and Mitch Trubisky having that breakout game that every fan, supporter, and hater was waiting for.

However, the defense led by defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has been the engine to this 3-1 start. We knew the Bears defense was going to be solid this year. The game changer happens when Ryan Pace made the move to acquire Khalil Mack a week before the opener against the Green Bay Packers.

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The defense was always a special player away from being dominant a unit, specifically another edge rusher that can ease some pressure off Leonard Floyd. Mack has elevated the play of everyone around and at the same time making Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden live a living hell each week. Mack is on pace to win his second defensive player of the year award and arguably the best edge rusher in Bears history.

While Mack deserves all the bouquets being thrown at him, he might be playing around some of the best talents he has ever played with on the defensive side of the ball. Pace has done a very solid job building depth on this defense with a mix of established veterans and young promising talent. So, the question is we starting to see something special develop?

The young talent on this team is performing up to its potential. Eddie Jackson is emerging as one of the better young free safeties in the league. Not only that, one of the leaders of this defense. He and another solid young defender in Adrian Amos are forming one of the best safety tandems in the league. Eddie Goldman got a well-deserved contract extension before the season starts and through four weeks, he looks like the best 3-4 nose tackle in football.

Danny Trevathan is quietly having his best season in a Bears uniform. For a guy that most figured were on his way out after this season, is now looking like a guy you want to keep. Roquan Smith held out all of training camp and some of the preseason but has shown promise to be one of the top defenders on this team a couple years from now.

There are a lot of concerns about Leonard Floyd’s lack of pass rush production through four games, but he has actually grown into a complete outside linebacker. He defends the run well, understands his assignments dropping back in coverage, as he has gotten comfortable in Fangio’s system. The pass rush production will come once the cast comes off his hand.

The surprise has been Aaron Lynch, who many (including myself) felt he wasn’t going to make the team. Lynch’s pass rush ability has allowed Fangio to use Floyd more in coverage. Between Mack, Floyd, and Lynch the Bears have a very good outside linebacker rotation they can throw at opposing offenses.

The cornerback position was thought to be the weakness as far as depth was concerned. Both Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara have played well through four games. Bryce Callahan has emerged as one of the better nickel corners in the league. The performance by undrafted Kevin Toliver last week on one of the better wide receivers in the game In Mike Evans showed fans that the depth is solid at that position.

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So, is this Bears defense special? Not quite yet. They still have some big tests ahead in the season that will give us a definitive answer. However, the pieces that Pace has put together on that side of the football has certainly put them in prime position to get to that level.