What was lost in the Thursday Night debacle is the defensive line creating consistent pressure on Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers. They got to the QB five times for a sack, and brought pressure throughout the night. It was the second week in a row where the D-Line made its presence felt, as they made rookie Andrew Luck debut a painful one last Sunday.
A reason outside of the talent line why the Chicago Bears have been successful is head coach Lovie Smith being creative with the rush packages. With Defensive End Julius Peppers and Defensive Tackle Henry Melton, Lovie and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has move their two best pass rushers all over the line.
In the Dan Ryan package, Marinelli moves Peppers inside at DT and Melton outside at DE to create match-up problems. We saw both players this past Thursday night make plays from those respective positions.
Another formation wrinkle they threw out there was three DL with three Linebackers roaming around the line in a blitz look. Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs have never been the best blitz LB’s in the world, but the third LB was rookie Shea McClellin who has experience playing the position back in college.
Although McClellin main duty is being a hand-in-the dirt DE, It was great to see Smith and Marinelli use a strength of McClellin’s without putting the rest of the front seven in jeopardy.
In all of Smith tenure here with the Bears, this has to be his most talented group of D-Linemen. The athleticism and versatility of this group allows Smith and Marinelli to experiment with different line combinations.
Bears fans should expect to continue seeing these combinations as the season progress.