Last night, the Chicago Bears couldn’t cover a telephone pole.
The Bears’ defense showed they are nowhere near being in regular season form. At least I hope this isn’t their regular season form. Chicago may have defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-19, but far more negatives than positives can be taken away from the game. One of the most glaring issues was the Chicago Bears’ pass defense.
After Chad Henne struggled mightily in Week 1 of the preseason, leading his team to four total yards in seventeen plays, you would have thought Henne was reincarnated into Johnny Unitas last night. Henne looked sharp against the Bears’ secondary, completing 12-of-17 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. It certainly helped that Henne had receivers wide-open on almost every play.
When Henne wasn’t finding receivers open by at least five yards, the Bears’ secondary aided them along with several penalties keeping scoring drives alive. After rookie Kyle Fuller went out early with an ankle injury, Kelvin Hayden saw more playing time with the first unit and failed on multiple occasions. Henne also found large pockets in the Bears’ zone coverage several times allowing the Jaguars to dominate time of possession, having the ball for 31 of the first 35 offensive plays of the game.
The defense wasn’t all bad. The Bears’ run defense looked solid against new Jaguars running back Toby Gerhart, and the defensive line was able to put strong pressure on Henne more than once. However, the secondary was a glaring problem throughout the early parts of the game. In a division that sports Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford, the Bears’ pass defense has to improve significantly if they are going to compete for the division title. The Jaguars had the worst offense in the NFL in 2013, and based on that performance, you have to wonder what Stafford or Rodgers would do against Chicago’s secondary.
There are still two more preseason games before we reach the regular season, so there is time for improvement. But defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is not going anywhere, and the Bears’ defensive personnel isn’t changing either.
That combination could spell serious trouble for the defense in 2014.