The 2012 Chicago Bears didn’t miss the playoffs because of their defense. It was one of the league’s best units led by a collection of strong veterans. With that being said, the smartest play for the Bears new coaching staff is to not tinker with things too much. New Bears head coach Marc Trestman and his new defensive coordinator (pictured above) Mel Tucker are suggesting that they’ll change very little in 2013. Tucker was quoted on the team’s website as saying,
“There’s a lot of carryover from what we’ve done in Jacksonville and what I’ve done other places and what they’ve done here. I just didn’t think it would be very productive to scrap [the defense]. What I want to do is take a look at it, evaluate it and see how we can take it further.”
While I certainly want to give Tucker a chance, I am not comforted by the fact that the Bears defense will be similar to the 29th ranked defense in points allowed last season like the Jacksonville Jaguars. While obviously there’s a talent gap, telling me that you are going to take the league’s third best unit and make it worse doesn’t make me too happy. And quite frankly, Tucker has big shoes to fill from Rod Marinelli and yes, Lovie Smith. So Tucker may want to rethink the idea that things should be similar to what he did in Jacksonville. I’d like to see him keep things similar to what they’ve done in Chicago.
If Trestman is able to get the offense better this season, the defense will have less pressure on it. The Bears offense was 28th in the league in offensive yards last season, and that just has to get a lot better. Despite a defensive unit that was creating turnovers and scoring points, the offense just didn’t carry its weight.
My guess with Tucker is that until this current crop of players is done, the Bears will look similar to what they did over the past few seasons. The personnel is set to run a 4/3 set with the front-four creating pressure. I could see Tucker potentially blitzing more from the linebacker spot, but look for the Bears to use their linebackers in coverage similar to what Smith and company did the past few seasons.
Now one X-Factor in this whole thing is Brian Urlacher. He’s told anyone that will listen that he wants to return to the Bears in 2013. Quite frankly, I would be shocked if he didn’t finish his career as a Bear. If he does come back, look for Urlacher to be used more outside with Nick Roach filling in the middle. That will allow Urlacher to rush the passer more while not having to cover as much of the field. Tucker’s defensive scheme may actually help Urlacher.