Sticking With the 4-3 Defense is Best Bet for the Chicago Bears

By Matt Gabrielson



The Chicago Bears new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker made a very smart decision in sticking with the 4-3 defensive scheme.  Despite the ever growing popularity of the 3-4 defense in the NFL, Tucker looked at what the Bears have on the roster already and knew that the 4-3 would give the Bears the best chance at immediate success.

While many fans have been clamoring for a possible change in the defensive scheme in Chicago, a change to the 3-4 simply would have set the Bears back a few years.  I would have to agree that the Bears need to move on from the Tampa-2 version of  the 4-3 defense.  The Tampa-2 simply is not working in the NFL the way it did when the Bears rode it to Super Bowl XLI way back in 2006.

Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts showed in that Super Bowl how to beat the Tampa-2 defense.  A lot of slant passes and short routes to tight ends to the position of the field that the middle linebacker vacates on passing plays can simply dominate this defense.  Manning and the Colts beat the Bears in just that way and not on the deep balls and long routes that the Colts had been known for at that time.

With sticking with the 4-3 you are taking advantage of a roster full of very solid veterans that have spent the majority of their careers not only playing in, but have been very successful in that defense.  Players like Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, Julius Peppers, and Henry Melton have all been to the Pro Bowl playing in the 4-3 defense.

To change to the 3-4 now would result in needing an almost total overhaul of your defense, meaning many star players would leave as they simply do not fit a 3-4.  And let us not forget that for a majority of the season that the Bears defense was near the top of the league and made many teams look silly with what appeared to be easy turnovers.

It is for all of these reasons that while it was the best choice for the Bears to remain at the 4-3, it was also the easiest decision to make.  The Bears have a few areas of major concern on this roster that if addressed properly, could make this Bears team a title contender next year.  If you were to defensive schemes now it makes one more area to address. This decision would also force the Bears to take a step back and not be as close as I feel they will be to championship.

The most important aspect of a 4-3 defense is the middle linebacker.  Will the Bears bring back Brian Urlacher, or will they have to sign or draft a new middle linebacker this offseason?  As new Bears head coach Marc Trestman, and new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said yesterday, that is a decision that will be evaluated at a later time….

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