Are Injuries at DT an Opportunity for Bears Defense to Evolve?

Are Injuries at DT an Opportunity for Bears Defense to Evolve?


There are a lot of things that bore me. Baseball games. Motivational speakers. Any dinner/ceremony related to a wedding. Waiting in the tee box for the group ahead of me to complete their woodland pilgrimage to find an ill-driven ProV1. (This also infuriates me to my breaking point.) I am starting to become very bored by two NFL writing trends: the regurgitation of numerical evaluations from Pro Football Focus and X & O breakdowns from anybody who shelled out the sixty bucks for All-22 tape. Admittedly I was guilty of both for a few weeks. I'm done.

Side note Tweet: 

Biggest question re: Pro Football Focus rankings? How much do they investigate assignments? How do they ascertain OL liability w/out knowing assignments?

This is not a column positing my knowledge of the inner workings of defensive football. I don't pretend to have all that much. This is a column asking very basic questions about how the Bears defense progresses through the 2013 season.

Here's what I know about the Tampa-2 defensive structure: it needs to be built strong up the middle like a great defensive baseball team. At its best in Tampa it was Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch. At its best in Chicago it was Tommie Harris, Brian Urlacher, Mike Brown.

On Thursday night it will be a hobbled Stephen Paea, D.J. Williams, Major Wright. Oh Hamlet, what a falling off was there! (Does this count as a pop culture reference?) Little push from the middle of the defensive, little coverage of the deep middle from the linebacker position and little discipline from center field. Due to injuries sustained by Henry Melton and Nate Collins the Bears no longer have the personnel to run the Tampa-2 defense. They no longer have the strength in the middle of their defense.

What does this mean? I have absolutely no idea. There is no chance Mel Tucker is going to spend the next twenty-hours in his defensive laboratory, concocting new schemes to fit the current Bears personnel. The Bears aren't suddenly going to play bump-and-run on the outside or switch to a 3-4 defense overnight because they are down to there third and fourth tackles. But I have a few questions based on what I watched between the Saints and Bears Sunday.

  1. Shea McClellin turned in arguably his finest performance as a defensive end and it seemed as the game progressed he took his hand out of the dirt on third downs. Is this something the Bears would consider doing on a regular basis?
  2. How many times this season are we going to see Bears corners with their hands in the air, surprised the safeties have not provided support over the top? Playing a safety over the top is a perfectly fine device to keep plays in front of the defense but it can be lethal if the safeties are continually late? Would Tucker ever allow Tillman and Jennings to simply play men and not space? Aren't Tillman and Jennings two of the best defenders on the club? Can't they just play them play?
  3. Will the Bears go to a more NASCAR look with regularity? The "NASCAR look" idea was coined by the Giants of a few years back when they'd put their four best pass rushers on the line of scrimmage and let them go. Seems to me the Bears would be wise to get out of the "technique" mentality and just go after quarterbacks on occasion.

Again, I don't expect the Bears to make any significant changes with two days until the Giants come to Chicago. But after this Giants game the Bears only play one game over the next twenty-four days. If the coaching staff was going to make any large-scale shifts or installations that would certainly be the time to do it. They no longer have the talent to stay within the current defensive structure.


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  • Given the circumstances, it seems crazy not to use Minter and Washington. Even if they have not looked super in practice, getting into a real game could jack them up to do really well. We saw potential from both in preseason, which is why they are on the roster, of course. Time to baptize these kids!

  • In reply to rustyw:

    It seems likely you'll get your wish - who else do they have to play (especially w.r.t Minter)?

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Yeah, Washington is a physical freak too. Might be a bit raw, but so would any FA we picked up.

  • Who knows what the Bears are going to do with their depleted DT situation? Your guess is as good as mine Jeff. Well maybe a little bit better. Ha.

    If Crazy legs has a monster game against us, I will not be surprised. Also, the G-Men know that their only hope of winning is going to be to try to win the T.O.P. battle by playing keep away. Also, if the Bears can't effectively stop the run, Eli could have a good day against us. So far, our inability to take away either the run or the pass from opposing offenses will continue to make it harder for our D to get off the field.

    I hope the Bears can find a way to sustain time consuming drives Thursday. This needs to be Trestman's game play from here on out in order to compensate for our depleted line.

    Our best defense is going to be a solid offense.

  • In reply to TracDaddy:

    It's time for Trestman to start playing chess, let the other fools play checkers.

  • In reply to TracDaddy:

    Other than Reggie Bush (who for some reason decided to be the second coming of Marcus Allen against us), opposing runners have averaged 3.1 yards against the Bears.

    The longest run the Saints managed was 9 yards.

    Personally, I don't understand the hand-wringing over the run defense.

    If the offense would just start doing a lot better on first down, the entire look of the team would change - I believe dramatically.

  • In reply to SC Dave:

    Maybe you have a point, it just seems that teams seem to take what they want against us. Way too many long drives against us. A lot of the long drives ended in FG's which has helped us keep games within reach but I for one have not been impress with our D.

  • In reply to SC Dave:

    The Bears rank 13th in Total Yards which isn't terrible.

  • In reply to TracDaddy:

    Our points against is pretty bad, though. Seems like we are giving an inordinate amount of short fields to our opponents. We've got to clean up turn overs (which I think we will as the new O gets into rhythm), and fix special teams (which I think CamelAss needs to go).

  • In reply to Scharfinator:

    Yes, and no. Depending on the game. pro-football-reference to the rescue again; it's plausible I messed this up a bit, but it's pretty close.

    My shorthand is nn(xx) where nn is the initial line of scrimmage and xx indicates how drive ended. If there is no (xx), it was a punt. 1H = first half, 2H = 2nd half

    Cincinnati drives
    1H: 26(int), 20, 3(TD), 20(int), 9(TD), 12, 20(half)
    2H: 20(TD), 20, Chi40(fum), 20

    Minnesota drives
    1H - kickoff(TD), 20, 20, 6, fumble rec TD, 20(pick6), 25(TD)
    2H - 34(fum), 9(FG), 12(FG), Chi47(FG)

    Pittsburgh drives
    1H: 20(fum), 21, 20(FG), 25(pick6), 25 (TD)
    2H: 20(fum), 20(FG), 31(TD), 22(FG), 25(fum), 20(downs) 26(int)

    Detroit drives
    1H: 18, 17(FG), Chi-31(FG), 16(FG), Chi-22(TD), Chi-2(TD), 49(TD), 32(fum)
    2H: 40, 20, 49(int), 19(FG), onside 46(fum), onside 50(expire)

    New Orleans drives
    1H: 32(FG), Chi-6(FG), 11, 28, 28(TD), 29(TD)
    2H: 22(FG), 20, 26(FG), Chi45

    Summarizing by field position "quartiles", we get:

    opp 1 to opp 25:
    34 drives, 5 TD, 9 FG, 6 turnover, 1 downs, 13 punts

    opp 26 to opp 49:
    14 drives, 4 TD, 2 FG, 6 turnover, 2 punts

    Midfield to Chi 25:
    4 drives, 1 FG, 1 turnover, 1 game expired, 1 punt

    Inside Chi 25:
    3 drives, 2TD, 1 FG

  • In reply to SC Dave:

    How do those field positions stack up against the average?

    I agree, the numbers do seem more favorable than my recollection.

  • David Wilson out? Not sure.

  • fb_avatar

    Yes. Trestman is going to bail, Emery out on the Chicken Dinner pick and play him standing up.

  • It's close fellers, it's close.

  • I knew one of you guys would find the work in progress. It's getting very close. We've stopped automatically forward here to work on it.

    I'll be sending along a few notes to you guys as we go. We've found a really good commenting system.

  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    Me excite!

  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    Awesome, Jeff - very glad the move is almost here.

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    where in thee fuck have you been!?

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Work, maing - spending lots of time on planes this month.

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    do you use the bathroom on planes? i pride myself on never stepping into one. even when i flew from LA to Sydney in 2001 and got drunk twice (drink, pass out, wake up, drink some more) i was able to avoid the toilets.

    i'm a machine.

  • In reply to evantonio:

    uhhhh... why?

  • In reply to evantonio:

    I agree with MB - that was kind of an odd question, EO.
    For the record, no.

  • In reply to MikeBrownhadaPosse:

    why in god's name do you guys not piss on plans?!

    Now, if we're talking about pinching biscuit, I get it.... but you guys don't even piss?

  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    Jeff, the new site's looking super. The main logo's fine by me, although it brings certain negative memories for me - all you need is the wooden paneling and Ron Burgandy with a martini to complete the trifecta.

    Few observations:

    1. NB was indeed correct - maybe make the avatars a little bigger if possible. One of the biggest complaints here are the fuzzy small avatars, and I for one tend to identify avatars much faster. They're also just fun.

    2. Love the links on the right side. I understand only putting those sites which are free, but maybe put the Chi Tribune anyways. Many, not me naturally, can get around the paywall. Not sure about the other ones, but def that one.

    On that note, maybe add a few more feeds. Possibilities? Moon Mullin, Hub Arkish, YourBoyRoy (and even though I know you hate FF, Evan Silva over at Rotoworld does a great match-up preview for every team which is the best imo, and you must remember that many of your followers indeed play FF).

    3. No more from your twitter feed?

    Not sure if you read my previous suggestion, but I liked reading your twitter on gnome-ville, and suggested you keep it on the new site. Or, maybe insert Adam Shefter/Morteson/Rapporpt (or more Bears-centric like Biggs/Jahns, etc) twitter feed to keep us apprized of the latest NFL news. Just a thought.

    4. Hope the new site automatically hyperlinks!


  • new site looking good Jeff

  • Here's a chestnut from MB's fave sportswriter Don Banks. The Saints even showed they have a running game, or at least a productive running back. When they throw him the ball, that is. Pierre Thomas, a Chicago native, burned his hometown team with nine catches for 55 yards, including touchdown receptions of 2 and 25 yards. Thomas also chipped in 36 yards on 19 carries, keeping the Bears defense honest when it came to playing the run.

    No doubt that screen pass for a TD was a beauty. If you do the math Thomas averaged 6.1 yds/pass with 2 TD's. Not a great avg but very effective. The part that kills me is the run stats/commentary. He averaged 1.9 yds/carry. If that had been a Bears back averaging 1.9 yds/carry he would have ripped him to shreds. What a tool.

    I mentioned it the other day, our D can't stop anyone between the 20's but is really good in the red zone. Tucker has to come up with ways to get the D off the field between the 20's. I think we had about 8 tackles for a loss on Sunday and then turnaround and give up the first down on the next play. Beyond frustrating.

    We should whip up on the G-men but the any given Thursday still holds true.

    I read where Fabio (thanks Cor) will be out for 4 weeks with the broken thumb. We play them in 4 weeks. You know he will be on the field against us. Hopefully they suck moose wang until he gets back on the field.

    Great news on the new the site. Can't wait.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    DaBearsBlog @dabearsblog
    . @JayGlazer reporting pins out of Clay Matthews' thumb in four weeks followed by (probably) more heal time. Huge hit for Packers defense.

    No way he's on the field for us if that's true. He'll JUST be starting his rehab the week of our game. Now, not sure what the rules on players wearing clubs on their hangs in the NFL, but I know I've seen it in the past.

    Oh, and fuck Don Banks right in his mousy little face.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    We'll see about that. Steroids and growth hormones do help the healing process. Not to mention the club.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Got the Fabio line from my brother. Any bike tours this summer?

  • In reply to Cormonster:

    Yeah did Ride Idaho in August. Started/ended in Coeur d'Alene. It was great! This must be your slow time of year. How's the music scene. I bought a small accordion and taking lessons. So far, so good.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Playing any Buckwheat Zydeco yet? Man that band puts on a great show. The local music scene is always great, but haven't been doing as many national acts. I love the band Lake Street Dive who I seen this summer. It's normally not the kind of music I listen to but they are really talented, especially the singer.

  • Right side of the new page will be Bears links from the day (to only non-pay sites) and then featured Audio will always be visible right below the Links.

  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    Nice. Besides all the normal 'core' blog commenting stuff everyone mentioned, gotta have the live chat 'pod' during games.

    Now, can we talk about the logo? I know it's personal and every ahole has his opinion, I also know you have a real graphics guy doing it... and I know graphics guys. He probably has an old timey fightclub mustache, thick black rimmed glasses with fake lenses, and one of those beret/beanies things doesn't he?

    Bears/Football blog Jeff... how about something a little more... football.

    (yes, this was mostly for entertainment purposes, and I'll be more than happy just not having to deal with gnome code, but thought I'd post it for fun anyway)

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    These guys did the logo:


    Don't know if I'd support sexiest woman ALIVE, but she's without a doubt sexy.


  • In reply to MB30SD:

    She's super hot but incredibly needy. Sean Penn dumped her ass in about a nanosecond. He's not exactly Lance Romance.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    I'd give her a shot at the title for a night or two canada. Hee hee.

  • Logo is the logo. You'll grow to like it. It was designed by me and every piss ant blog has a stupid football-themed logo.

    Trying to find the right live chat program for the game threads. Need something that can handle a certain amount of traffic to the post itself.

  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    Yep, figured.


  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Translation. You'll take it, and you'll love it!


    "Truth is disputable, taste is not." - Hume.

  • Sports radio on the drive home had 3 calls about going 3-4.

    All of them were answered with: silly rabbit tricks are for kids.

    Basically, you have Dinner who is a 3-4 player and nobody else. Do you switch to 3-4 to accommodate the limitations of one player?

  • Wanted: 3-technique tackle.

    Requirements: 300 lbs of beef, can push other 300 lb men around. hates men with brown balls in their hand. good at spotting tricks and misdirection. strong knees.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Not like this will end the search but I saw they signed Christian Tuoupo. He was with us during training camp and PS.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:


  • In reply to Shady:

    Anyone know of any bad teams who have a decent 3-tech DT?

    Horrible teams who might have a fire sale.

    Chargers (if they're honest)
    Anyone in the NFC E.

  • I'm sure your bespectacled avatar will exhaust all options.

  • I don't think this involves a switch to a 3-4. I think it involves not relying on the Tampa-2 structure they've relied on for quite some time. Bears have been burnt repeatedly down the sidelines because there is no push up the middle and the safeties have been late to cover. It just might be time to pull a bit of Rex Ryan. Send the house and let the corners cover. Let the players play.

  • In reply to Jeff Hughes:

    I for one am glad to see the cover who going away. It's a lovie relic and although our D was good under lovie, I just want it all gone.

    Like I texted to doc during the game, living in this between world isn't helping our Dline issues. We need to make a move to a different D now that A) lovie/mari are gone, and B) we don't have the right personnel any more.

    Now, can we do that mid-season... going to be tough, but I know we have to do something. Without a real dline push, without a 2006ish lach in the middle, and with two average to below avg safeties... we better do something to solve the issue.

    I really like what rob ryan did with the d... very flexible and creative. I think we have to do something... nay, anything but stay in the burnt toast c overages we've been in so far. It just can't and won't work.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Current coverage certainly does not seem to work very well. Agreed that something has to give - be it personnel or scheme.

    This season there is not a lot that can be done with personnel other than give some of the backups a shot. But one would suppose that they are backups for a reason.

    On the other hand, the Bears are 3-2, and with a couple wins in a row against teams we *should* beat, we'll see how things look. I repeat myself, but I really think if we get back to the offense at least getting some first downs on the first couple of drives the complexion of the games will improve.

  • In reply to SC Dave:

    Agree with that assessment dave.

    When I reread my post, I realized that I was actually thinking about after this year more, I just didn't put that in there since this year seems more pressing right now.

    I have a feeling (and a hope) that this off-season will see emery focusing as much on revamping the D entirely as he did the o last year. Just like last year was about O protection, weapons, and an entirely new scheme, this coming off-season needs to be about the same on D. I personally don't think tucker is the right guy, and I think we all KNOW decamillis isn't.

    If Emery attacks the D and specials like he did the O last year, I will be an even bigger loyal fan. As for this year, one just hopes the O finally starts hitting on all cylanders in the 2nd half and that the D holds as best it can... and that specials don't totally fall apart.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    With you MB, with you.

    Emery has shown the ability to *focus* on what he wants to get done.

    Year 1 was about assessing what he had and then adapting. The draft was not exactly brilliant and Emery is on the hook for it regardless of whether they were "his" picks. IMO, if McClellin can improve enough to become a multi-year starter (maybe in a 3-4 as some have proposed), then given that Jeffery is showing what we in SC expected, the draft won't be a disaster.

    The *real* draft of year 1 was Trestman, et al. I believe Mark is the real deal, but the rest of the staff has not convinced me yet. Given what we're already getting from Long and Mills, I have to give Kromer a decent grade. Tucker and the rest of the defensive staff were walking on eggshells - too much disruption and there was a possibility of (how to say...) losing the locker room. The vets have said many times that they appreciated the fact that Tucker adapted to their terminology, so he gets a few points for that. Last season, the defense was already in a transition state as it was clear that Urlacher did not have it any more and so I'm not ready to blame Tucker for some of the problems we have now.

    On the specials side, we mostly seem to think Decamillis stinks. The problems could be execution, but my inclination is to think it's more about just not having the brilliance of Dave Toub. We have become sooo accustomed to being tops in specials that it is really hard to watch when we're in the bottom third (not sure we're that bad, but it feels like it on the coverage side anyway).

    Season 2 draft will be a wild success if Long and Mills pan out as we're all hoping. I can see these guys being the right side of the line for a dozen years or more and being a core strength of the offense. And that is saying a lot when you have Forte, Marshall, Jeffery, Bennett(s), and Cutler. Bostic, Greene, and Washington all seeming like they could turn out to be something too. I have not seen enough of Wilson to make a judgment either way.

    Year 3? Time will tell, especially as this season is far from over and there is a lot of "grading" left to do. I'm thinking FS or SS, DT are probably priorities, although I'd like to see at least a couple OL including a Center. And at some point, we need to find a new LS (damn the Clutts fail still* pisses me off). It would also not surprise me to see a punter taken late. And Robbie better be reasonable about money, damn it! Especially if Jay sets a precedent for the hometown discount.

    Gad... too much drivel. Better stop now.

  • In reply to SC Dave:

    good stuff dave (see! we can agree)

    I think we HAVE to get a rd 1 or 2 FS and/or another safety in FA if a known entity is available.

    Not sure what we need for dline any more. Melton will be back and wont command nearly the price he would have if he were healthy AND blowing it up this year, so if he doesnt pull a tommy harris, we could get him back for cheap(er) next year... IF he's worth a shit (if he can't go crazy with a huge contract on the line will he next year?). And Paea is pretty decent.

    All I know is that were pretty ok at LB but we need to evolve with the NFL and move towards a Dbackfield that looks more like the seattle link I posted yesterday (still have a football hardon from watching that thing)

  • Sedrick F'ing Ellis. Son of a bitch.

  • In reply to Shady:

    was his decision better or worse than gaines adams'?

  • In reply to evantonio:

    young guy dying like that is never better than anything.

    Ellis is a pussy.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    ...unless of course his doctors told him he would end up like gains adams if he continued to play.

  • In reply to Shady:

    I am not going to condemn him. Sedrick made a nice pile of cash playing football, and if he was smart with the money he's got a nice start towards retirement.

    All the stuff coming out about CTE is going to affect some guys. I'm sure as hell not going to call him a pussy for making a decision to keep what's left of his brain intact after a dozen or so years of football.

  • In reply to SC Dave:

    Nobody called him a pussy Dave, he just basically robbed the Bears of a few hundred thousand and left them with little depth behind Melton because he decided to retire after OTAs but before camp. smh Didn't seem like a big deal at the time, but of course now it hurts considering what is happening to the interior of the D line.

  • In reply to Shady:

    actually, I... called him a pussy. But I was just being a dick because he dicked us like you said.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    So you did...

  • In reply to SC Dave:

    Frontline is on tonight. WTTW. 8-10pm.

    All about CTE and the massive NFL cover-up

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Love Frontline, especially that one special they ran about the blind black KKK writer. Riveting.

  • Ah yes, Clinton Bigsby. Sad character he was.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    One of my favorite sketches ever.

    "I think Naggers, Jews, Mexicans, Muslims, and all sorts of different kinds of pollacks, stink" - Clinton Bigsby

  • use links... you animal

  • Classic Chappelle.

  • I understand that with this particular group, I will be the ONLY person here who watches the documentary tonight.

    But, if you do your self one favor and watch one thing, watch Leigh Steinberg in the video here:

  • In reply to gpldan:

    wow. crazy.

    Kinda sheds a bit of light on why ache for man is such a complete tool as a commentator.

    ok ok, that was uncalled for... I'm sorry. I'm being a dick today.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Speaking of dicks, he's become a bit of one, but damn was he fun. While Butkus made me a Bears fan forever, this guy might have had I been more oriented towards offense than defense.

  • In reply to SC Dave:

    A stat on his rookie season.

    232 touches. 22 touchdowns. Flat. Out. Amazing.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Maybe in terms of the commenters but I have already set my DVR.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    That's crazy GP. Seems like something we'd all want to watch.

  • Ok so I canceled DTV at the end of last football season. Sundays I watch the Sunday ticket through my laptop on the bigscreen (that Madden deal worked perfectly!) but this Thursday presents a problem. Dont get TNF on Sunday ticket so I need to either find a sports bar (which means I'll sit there spending $$ on touchdown shots, food and beer but I will also get to represent) or go to a buddies house (most likely will have a nagging wife present and or childeren) This is truly a 1st world problem, but it's my problem.

  • Feel like driving to SF? My wife will be out with her friends, I'll be watching at home.

  • In reply to ben in norcal:

    Thats a bit far Ben but I will hit you up next time I'm in the city and you do likewise. Youre always welcome to come by for a Sunday and watch a game with the boys.

  • Julio Jones done. For. The. Year. Ouch babe.


    (Yes Shady!)

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Well played.

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