Mel Tucker deserves shot to run his defense

Mel Tucker deserves shot to run his defense

Mel Tucker is back.

I think it is the right move, for now.

Yes, Tucker oversaw a historically bad Bears defense. Yet,Tucker in my opinion, (along those I checked in with) deserved a shot at running his defense with the Bears. Most importantly, Marc Trestman felt this way.

"We believe Mel is the right person to lead our defensive unit," Trestman said in a statement. "He fully understands where we need to improve, has the skill set and leadership to oversee the changes that need to be made and to execute our plan to get the results we know are necessary."

Tucker apparently was also able to win over key Lovie Smith holdovers like Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, no small feat mind you.

The defensive chief was handed a unique situation of having to essentially run someone else’s scheme. Add to that an aging, injury plagued squad and things fell apart quickly for the embattled coordinator.

Tucker wasn’t exactly set up to succeed. Albeit, he did enjoy some success up until week 4.

Now Tucker gets to run a defense he would plan to employ. From what I hear and gather it will be a more aggressive scheme in nature, featuring more pressure, blitzes.

Even with Phil Emery and Trestman saying everything was on the table, a switch to a 3-4 is not likely. You could see some form of a hybrid scheme to allow Shea McClellin to be used differently. However, I wouldn’t expect anything other than an attacking 4-3 for the base.

I've read we could expect more press coverage. If that is the case, I believe there could be some emphasis placed on corners that can play man more. You could also see a size increase at the tackle position. That strategy would help benefit the run defense and the linebacker group, freeing them up to make more plays.

“We want a physical, fast, playmaking defense, a defense that causes disruption,” Emery said.

Kevin Fishbain points to the Pittsburgh game as a potential blueprint of the Bears’ 2014 defensive style. Bears brass has pointed to this game directly when talking about the defense in a positive light.

According to Pro Football Focus, Ben Roethlisberger was under pressure on 20 plays, six more than any other Bears opposing quarterback. They blitzed Big Ben 19 times, tied for the most all season. After halftime, Roethlisberger started finding success under pressure, but the aggressive defense was too much. The Bears forced five turnovers in that 40-23 win.

Turnovers, disruption…here is your shot to do you Mel.

Don't blow it.

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    The one reason I think Mel Tucker deserved to come back for another year was as you stated, that he was forced to run someone else's scheme. After the disaster that turned out to be for many reasons, I do think that it is only fair to give the guy you just hired at the beginning of last season a chance to at least show what he can do when running his own scheme. Of course the problem is that we are not really sure what Tucker's scheme is. Even in Jacksonville he did not truly have a signature scheme as he switched between 3-4 and 4-3. Not to mention the fact that we are not sure exactly how much talent he is really going to have to work with. As it stands now the Bears do not have a whole lot of cap space to be able to aggressively upgrade on defense and the pieces they do have left don't really fit that well together. Some things we do know about what they have is a corner in Jennings who is probably not suited to press coverage, a MLB in Bostic who is suited more for the Weak side spot that is currently held down by one of the greats in Bears history at the position in Briggs, a DE/LB in McClellin who doesn't seem to really fit into any position on the defense, and a S in Conte who doesn't appear to belong in the NFL. This on top of serious depth problems on the D line and the backside at the Safety positions and I would say that both Tucker and more importantly Emery have their work cut out for them. Emery is going to have to hit big on almost every draft choice he uses on defense and Tucker is going to have to find a way to use both Bostic and McClellin's amazing athletic abilites in the right way. To me one of the biggest tragedies is that the one guy I feel could instantly solve some issues at Safety is Tillman, but he has pretty much put his foot down that he is not resigning if a switch to Safety is in the Bears plans for him.

  • In reply to Richard Madsen:

    We still don't know how athletic McClellin would be at LB. Bostic should play outside and they need DL first and foremost.

    If they get a pass rush they may be able to stick with the safeties for now.

  • I'm not as positive on this development as you are but I accept that Tucker will be running the Defense for the Bears next year and I truly hope he rewards the faith the Team has placed in him. My question for you concerns your omission of Peppers amongst the list of veterans that warmed up to Tucker. Was that purposeful? If so, will Peppers be back?

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    No captain, I actually just felt Peppers was more neutral about the whole thing. I think Briggs and Peanut were more outwardly upset over Lovie ouster. I think Peppers could be brought back with substantial cut.

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    I'm not so much positive as I trust Trestman and Emery to take Tucker's plan for future defense into account. Plus you have to give him a shot to run his defense if you hired him, let him prove you right. He was out in bad spot IMO.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Thanks for your responses on both points. Tucker has given me little to be a fan of, but maybe w/ a few player upgrades and a healthier team, the progress I was desperately hoping to see, will make a dramatic appearance. This offseason could be a very busy one for your Bears coverage.

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    Thanks for reading, hope so.

  • I thought the headline was "Mel Tucker deserves shot to ruin his defense"! But seriously, we knew the defense was getting old and running on fumes two years ago. Can't really blame him for that. Look forward to seeing how it reacts next year.

  • In reply to johnpseudonym:

    Ha, and hey we don't know how good Tucker is. That's the thing, let's give him a year with his system and see what we got.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I think the danger here though, is that in a year where there could be tremendous turnover in defensive personnel, you're committing to new players who might not fit the next coordinators scheme. It's what the Greg Olsen trade illustrated. It was a short sighted move catering to an inflexible coach who probably (and wasn't) there much longer.

    I would rather have Emery & Trestman identify the best possible scheme to run on defense now, get the best coach for that, & start moving forward with a new philosophy & players that fit that scheme. Now maybe that has already happened, and Tucker is the man they have identified to do this, but I don't know that. My suspicion is that Tucker was hired mostly for his ability to potentially run Lovie's defense, and there wasn't a whole lot available at that time in the way of experienced coordinators.

    I admit that firing Tucker would not have been very fair to the man, and I do think he'll improve some while getting to run his own style, but you've got to do what's best for the organization. If a mistake was made, you've got to move on from it as quickly as possible. Obviously the coach & GM don't feel it has been a mistake yet. I'm not sold myself, but would love to be proven wrong.

    Now is the perfect time to completely revamp the defense. I would just hate to bring in a whole new draft class and set a free agents, then have to hire our next coach to fit those guys, much like just happened when Tucker was hired. Phil Emery's experience with his previous 2 teams had been in a 3-4 defense and that might explain why he's had difficulty in bringing in defensive talent here. Emery appears to be here long term. I want to see you bring in your defense Phil. I hope that that's Mel Tucker.

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    In reply to ChiRy:

    I think Tucker was brought in for more than just running Lovie's scheme. I admit that him being willing to do that probably didn't hurt his chances, but he is also someone who has run both 4-3 and 3-4 defenses in the past.

    I personally don't think the 3-4 is the magic cure that so many people play it up to be. If you look at what are probably the best 2 defenses in the NFL, (Panthers and Seahawks) they both run a 4-3 scheme.

    Regardless of all that, they now have the ability to draft and bring in people to fit the scheme that Tucker and Trestman want to run (I don't think the point that Trestman will have a large say in what scheme they run has been pointed out enough). Emery will not be drafting for Lovie's defense anymore, but for the defense that Tucker and Trestman decide they want to go with. Only time will tell how successful they are, but with the vast improvement on offense, they have definitely put a lot less burden on the defense, which means they won't need to be elite to have a chance at a Super Bowl.

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