After one of the most disappointing defensive seasons in team history, the Chicago Bears made some impressive roster moves to help ensure a better chance for success in 2014. Though according to the Bears coaching staff, new personnel alone will not be enough to fix the problems that plagued this team last season. A change in the mindset of their defense was desperately needed in order to turn this unit around.
This new, “tougher” mentality seems to have taken hold already for the Bears, at least recent addition Lamarr Houston seems to think so. When asked about the difference between playing in Chicago and with his former team the Oakland Raiders, Houston was quick to point out, “The environment here is different and you can appreciate it around here, because it’s about football.”
This sentiment was echoed by defensive coordinator Mel Tucker when he stated that the team was putting a premium on toughness and playing well along the defensive line heading into 2014. This is not to say that the team didn’t feel this way last season, but they were decimated by injuries on the defensive side of the ball and some of the backup guys may not have been prepared to handle the load.
Now the Bears have overhauled their defensive line since the end of last season, with only Stephen Paea and Nate Collins as defensive linemen on the current roster that were at training camp in 2013 for the Bears. The addition of a consistently productive veteran in Jared Allen should add more than just sacks to the Bears defense. Allen will be called on to help usher in this tough physical mentality that has been a staple of his game since he entered the league in 2004. Along with Allen and Houston, the Bears have also drafted Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton to help strengthen the middle of their line.
The combination of new, and unarguably better, players should definitely help the Bears climb from the cellars of defensive stat categories. The trickle down effect of a stronger pass rush will be monumental in helping probable rookie starting defensive backs Brock Vereen and Kyle Fuller. This pass rush effect was missing a year ago, which led teams to expose a poor defensive backfield.
With training camp right around the corner, Bears fans will finally get a look at what the defense will look like when they play with an edge, as they finally get to strap on the pads and get in some hitting. This time will be key to growing some chemistry along the line.
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