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Is Defense Chicago's Biggest Problem?

NFL_smith1.jpgWhen Jay Cutler was acquired by the Bears, many observers felt the franchise was finally whole.  The team finally had a franchise quarterback to go with Lovie Smith’s vaunted defense.

The only problem with that assessment? The defense has been inconsistent at best the last two seasons.

Brad Briggs of the Chicago Sun Times believes the defense is Chicago’s biggest issue heading into camp.  Smith will try to turn around their fortunes because the personnel is mostly the same. 

It’s easy to buy the argument.  The Bears were mediocre in points allowed last season, and well below average in yards allowed, passing yards, and sacks.

Smith is counting on coaching, not players, to solve the problem.  Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli was added to shake up an underachieving pass rushing group.  Smith will now call the defensive plays.

Cutler should upgrade the team’s passing fortunes, but the offense remains a work in progress because of inexperienced wideouts.

If veteran defenders like Brian Urlacher, Adewale Ogunleye, and Nathan Vasher can’t improve their play, Smith could be calling plays elsewhere in 2010.  

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22 Responses to “Is Defense Chicago's Biggest Problem?”
  1. purpleguy says: Jul 6, 2009 11:06 AM

    He better coach the hell out of them this year before they’re all past their prime — or already past it like Urlacher.

  2. OZZ says: Jul 6, 2009 11:13 AM

    And Biggs is absolutely correct.
    The offense was fine last year.. with Kyle Orton. Now they’ve got Cutler. No worries.
    It was the Defense that couldn’t stop anyone.

  3. ryans46d says: Jul 6, 2009 11:33 AM

    First of all, the offense absolutely was a major issue last year. And 2007 as well. Look no further past the first game of 2007 against the Chargers. The defense in that game shut down Phillip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson and the rest of that offense. Our offense couldn’t get a thing going. If an offense can’t sustain any consistent drives and score touchdowns rather than field goals than no defense can hold out for long.
    Now in 2008, as much as I fell in love with Kyle after the Falcons game, the guy couldn’t complete a pass farther than 17 yards down field consistently. He overthrew wide open receivers way too much. Because of that, opposing defenses stacked eight at the line and it was astounding that Forte ran for the 1200+ yards that he did. But in the end they ran him into the ground because NOBODY feared the Bears passing game. Cutler adds the strong arm that this team desperately needed last year. He can make every throw required from the quarterback position. Look for the rookie Johnny Knox to emerge as a big time downfield threat. If that happens, Forte will run for 1500.
    With the quarterback position finally addressed and make no mistake, Cutler can play the position better than most in the league, the defense definitely needs to step up. At the forefront is Tommie Harris. His play will create a ripple effect on the rest of the defense. If he plays great, and I think he will, he command more double-teams which will leave our edge rushers more one on one matchups and I like our odds with that. I truly believe Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye will both be in double digits in sacks this year. Rod Marinelli is as big in offseason acquisition every bit as Jay was to the offense. Look for big things from this defense this year. I guarantee it.

  4. govikings27 says: Jul 6, 2009 11:41 AM

    Chicago’s biggest problem defensively is that they have to face AP twice a year. Can’t wait to see him go off for 200+ on them this year. Keep up the good work bears…

  5. KABOOM BABY!! says: Jul 6, 2009 11:48 AM

    @ryans46d
    You say he’s better then most quarterbacks in the league. I agree to an extant but we’ll see if he’s the real deal when he has to throw to mediocre wide-outs. I have a feeling that he’s gonna be a whole different qb in Chicago

  6. Cecil says: Jul 6, 2009 11:56 AM

    Huh, wonder if nobody feared the Bears’ passing game because they didn’t have any receivers. Or an offensive line.
    I get that Chicago fans are happy right now, because Jay is a talented kid with a strong arm. But he left a place with a *lot* of offensive talent–and don’t talk about the Bears’ great running game, because the Broncos averaged nearly an entire yard more per carry last year. And that was with 7 running backs on IR.
    I actually think the trade helped both teams. But we’ll see. Jay’s not used to seeing a lot of pressure, and he left the worst pass-rushing division in the NFL for one of the best…

  7. BigWalt says: Jul 6, 2009 12:10 PM

    Marinelli…laugh out loud.

  8. JimmyLions says: Jul 6, 2009 12:16 PM

    If the Bears are counting on Rod Marinelli to fix their defense, they are in big trouble. Marinelli focused his time in Detroit on coaching the Lions defense. That was supposed to be his big thing — he’s a defensive guru.
    My question is, do the Bears think a defense that mirrors what the Lions had during the Marinelli era is going to be an upgrade?
    This makes me think the Bears will end up finishing in the cellar of the NFC Norris division.

  9. JSS84 says: Jul 6, 2009 12:24 PM

    The Bears defense hasn’t been healthy in two years..it wouldn’t matter if they were healthy because #28 in purple owns that defense. Urlacher can’t stop A.D.
    Great you got Cutler. Devin Hester and Earl Bennett, the both of them combined don’t equal a #1 WR. Your not getting Burress, and you don’t have enough ammo to trade with Denver for Mr. McDonalds, because you gave away everything for a 25 year old mini Favre.

  10. ryans46d says: Jul 6, 2009 12:35 PM

    @ KABOOM
    They’re not mediocre. They’re unproven. Watch this year play out. With regards to AP. Those days are over.

  11. Qoojo says: Jul 6, 2009 12:38 PM

    It’s always amusing to see people make assumptions based on picking up FAs. Seems like every year the Vikings win the offseason and are a lock to win the superbowl. This sounds like the same thing. All of Chicago’s pitiful offensive problems are going to go away because they picked up Cutler lol

  12. screaming sheep says: Jul 6, 2009 12:40 PM

    Thanks for Chris Harris Chicago. We appreciate his play.

  13. mixman34 says: Jul 6, 2009 12:45 PM

    Actually, Chicago’s Biggest Problem will be the VIKINGS.

  14. LightningLucci says: Jul 6, 2009 12:53 PM

    Bears were a top 5 defense in 2006 with Rivera as the DC.
    He leaves before the 07 season and the Bears defense drops down to the middle of the pack in scoring and the bottom in total yards allowed, which continues on in 08.
    In SD, Rivera became the DC during the middle of the 08 season and the Chargers defense improves in time for their make-the-playoffs run.
    Coaching sounds like a reason for the Bears defensive problems, but more likely just another reason among many.

  15. Kulp says: Jul 6, 2009 12:58 PM

    It’s worth noting the Bears defense faced the most plays from scrimmage in the NFL last season. Theoretically, a competent offense should keep the D on the sidelines more often, ultimately maximizing their effectiveness.

  16. VegasBronco says: Jul 6, 2009 1:46 PM

    IMO defense needs to step up. Problem is Tommie Harris has his money and bad knees. Brian Urlacher and others are banged up and older. And Rod Marinelli is a bandaid after Ron Rivera left.
    Offense; Bennett and Hester are #3 receivers. So the Lovie Smith play control run football and hope the defense keeps you in the game will probably end up with an 8-9 win season.
    Problem is, Vikings look like a 9-11 win team and GB may make the biggest jump, due to FA and draft choices, into the 8-9 win area.
    IMO Detroit gets 3-4 wins.

  17. Bun McSticky says: Jul 6, 2009 1:57 PM

    The NFCN, now with Favre going to Minnesota, will be offensively a tough go. Chicago has many worries defensively.

  18. JimmySmith says: Jul 6, 2009 2:30 PM

    Somebody go look up the Vikings rushing totals for the last 4 games against the Bears. I believe Peterson is average over 150 yards per game with at least 2 games over 200 yards.
    Unless Marinelli fixes that, the Bears will suck again.

  19. jimicos says: Jul 6, 2009 2:40 PM

    OZZ says:
    July 6, 2009 11:13 AM
    And Biggs is absolutely correct.
    The offense was fine last year.. with Kyle Orton. Now they’ve got Cutler. No worries.
    It was the Defense that couldn’t stop anyone.
    ——————————-
    Sure, the offense was fine. As long as ranking #26 by yards and #14 by points scored is “fine”.

  20. jimicos says: Jul 6, 2009 2:46 PM

    JimmySmith says:
    July 6, 2009 2:30 PM
    Somebody go look up the Vikings rushing totals for the last 4 games against the Bears. I believe Peterson is average over 150 yards per game with at least 2 games over 200 yards.
    Unless Marinelli fixes that, the Bears will suck again.
    ———————–
    Peterson has averaged 23 carries for 139 yards and 2 TDs per game against the Bears. He had one 200 yard game (224 with 3 TDs) against them.
    I don’t know how many fumbles he had in those games.

  21. Hungry N. Hadasnack says: Jul 6, 2009 4:09 PM

    Yeah, Peterson torched the Bears defense, but ORTON torched the Vikings secondary…
    So just what do you think CUTLER’S going to do to it?!?
    Questions to consider:
    Have the Vikings found a PUNTER yet?
    Have they fixed their other special teams woes?
    Is the Williamseseses suspension case resolved yet?
    Does Winfield have a contract? Will he hold out?
    How short is Childo’s leash?
    Toss up:
    # of ints Favre throws each week, or the average number of empty seats in each row of the stadium…
    With the move to L.A., will the team OFFICIALLY change its name to the Bi-Queens? (seems more apt)
    Which comes first?
    Another Allen DUI, or another hot urine sample from Harvin?
    Who’s more likely to lend the other his leather assles$ chaps–Favre or Allen?
    How long until the perennial paper champs can stop mindlessly droning: “we’re just a quaterback away from the Super Bowl…” ?
    My guess is no time soon.

  22. Cecil says: Jul 6, 2009 7:02 PM

    “Sure, the offense was fine. As long as ranking #26 by yards and #14 by points scored is “fine”.”
    You know what’s really funny?
    That’s a higher points-scored ranking than Denver had last year.

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