Chicago Bears: Week 1 Defensive Progress Report

By M. Quann Boyd
Peanut Tillman
Mike Dinovo USA Today Sports

What has been one of the major staples of the Chicago Bears‘ vaunted defense of years past? If your response was either toughness or pressuring quarterbacks, those are acceptable answers; however, the third and possibly most damaging aspect of the Bears’ D happens to be the unit’s penchant for creating turnovers.

With a new NFL season and a new coaching regime having blown into the Windy City during the offseason, there would surely be some change with the Bears’ defense heading into this year, right?

Wrong. The Bears’ defense in Week 1 caused three turnovers on Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals offense, with Charles Tillman being the recipient of two interceptions. So far, so good for the Bears defense and the brand new coordinator Mel Tucker, yes?

Truthfully, it depends on if one looks at the Bears’ 24-21 victory over the Bengals as an underdog beating a superior team, or as a veteran team hanging on against a more talented playoff-bound squad.

If looking at the Bears win through the former lens, than the defensive unit played an exceptional “bend but don’t break” defensive game. Now, if one were to look at the win through the latter, then the Bears’ defense was exposed in both the run and passing games.

In the 24-21 victory, the Bears’ defense opened the game in the Cover-2, and their last defensive stand was also in the Cover-2. Now I don’t believe that this is a case of an old dog not being able to learn new tricks, but more so a magician (in this case Mel Tucker) not wanting to reveal all of his defensive secrets to the league.

With 15 games left in the regular season, the Bears’ D has more than a few things that needs to be improved upon (such as having defenders properly wrapping up ball carries and producing a more consistent four-man pass rush) heading into Week 2 against the Adrian Peterson-led Minnesota Vikings and beyond.

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