Last season, the Chicago Bears‘ defense was less “Monsters of the Midway” and more newborn-cub like. In 2013 the Bears ranked 30th in yards allowed, 31st in points allowed and dead last in sacks. To say the least, the defense was atrocious.
The first line of defense in football is and always will be the four big guys up front. The defensive line is the where any defense begins and ends. They have the ability to take control of any game, whether it be in the pass rush or run stopping. When the line can control a game it helps out the rest of the defense. The defensive backfield will have more opportunities for interceptions with more pressure on the quarterback. The linebackers can roam the field and stop the run as the offensive linemen are preoccupied. It’s defense 101.
For the rest of the defense to succeed, it begins with the D-line. Phil Emery and company addressed this need this offseason by signing two big names in Lamarr Houston and Jared Allen. They then added depth up the middle by drafting Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton with their second and third-round picks.
The Houston signing may come to be the most important move of them all. In 2013, he ranked first in total stops and run stops among all 4-3 defensive ends. He comes from the Oakland Raiders and is in instant upgrade to a defense that was last in rushing yards allowed.
Despite the abysmal season-long defensive performance, the Bears came within, not only a game, but one broken coverage from Chris Conte from making the playoffs. Hypothetically, if there was a stronger pass rush on that play against the Green Bay Packers, the Bears very well may have won the game and made the playoffs.