With every game a must-win from now on, the Chicago Bears traveled to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Vikings who had nothing to lose. On a day that saw plenty of drama and yet another overtime game for the VIkings, Chicago ultimately lost on a field goal by Blair Walsh after both he and Robbie Gould had missed one apiece in the extra period.
Throughout the season, Chicago has dealt with their share of injuries on both sides of the ball. None have hurt them more, though, than their key defensive players lost like Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Henry Melton. Without them for a few weeks now, the Bears have looked even worse than they did to open the season on defense and are searching for answers.
The problem for the Bears’ defense has come from, first and foremost, stopping the run — or the lack thereof. Adrian Peterson again tore up the Bears’ defense rushing for 211 yards in the win and, though he’s the reigning MVP, Chicago’s defense looked like they wanted nothing to do with attempting a legitimate tackle on the guy.
For several weeks now, Chicago’s defense has seen their guys attempting to either strip the football or tackle above the waist on nearly every single play run by the opposing offenses. The biggest culprits of them all have been safeties Chris Conte and Major Wright, but it all starts up front. The defensive line have not been able to get off their blocks and wrap up. Instead, they — as well as the linebackers — grab the ball carrier above the waist and try pulling them down from that angle.
For anyone that’s ever played football, you know that this technique is frowned upon at the earliest of levels. From the time a kid puts on his first pair of shoulder pads, he’s taught to tackle guys below the waist because, as we all know, if you keep your legs moving, you will always be the most difficult to take down. At the professional level, you would be a fool to continuously go for strips and arm tackles.
That’s exactly what Chicago has seen their defense do week in and week out, and quite frankly, I am disgusted by it. Enough is enough. I mean, what exactly is defensive coordinator Mel Tucker preaching in practice? The Bears defense hasn’t looked this bad in a very, very long time. Even through injuries in the past, the Bears have been able to still hit hard, stop the run and force turnovers. This defense is the exception.
They have been miserable to watch. With as many pitiful efforts this defense has had in recent weeks and how poorly their tackling has been, Tucker must be fired. Either now or at the end of the season, he has to be gone. There’s no reason to keep him around with the way his unit is playing — period. It’s not that difficult to remind your team that the way they’re tackling isn’t working and get it fixed. Either do it, or lose your job.