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Bears Mon Sep 30 2013

Bears Defense Continues To Get Gashed

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for GB bears icon.pngJay Cutler had a bad game; no doubt about it. His three interceptions and fumble were all on him (one bad decision, two terrible throws, and one cup of tea in the pocket), and he was consistently off target all day. Sure, there were a couple of dropped passes, but the accuracy of Cutler's throws was erratic because of bad mechanics. Marc Trestman was quoted as saying Cutler was "extremely accurate," (he ranked as the worst Bears offensive player according to Pro Football Focus) but I think he'll recant that after watching tape.

A lot of focus will be on Cutler and how they'll stop Bad Jay from appearing again. But the real issue with this team is the defense. If they aren't forcing a turnover, they're getting demolished with big plays. The team currently ranks 27th in the NFL in points allowed at 114 per game - including 20+ numbers against bad offenses in Cincinnati and Minnesota.

Julius Peppers was the lone bright spot for Mel Tucker's unit yesterday, causing major disruptions in the pass game and on the occasions where the Lions were dumb enough to run the ball in his direction. The problematic players were nearly everyone else that suited up on defense.

Shea McClellin recovered the Peppers-forced fumble, and had a solid sack in Week 1, and other than that, he's been one of the worst defensive players in all of football. In 163 snaps this season, he's recorded just two tackles (one of those being the sack). That number is absurd for a former first rounder who's played as much as he has. He's basically unplayable in possible running situations because he's easily neutralized by blocking from tight ends. He simply lacks the size and counter moves to his patented speed spin to play the position effectively. It wouldn't surprise me to see him lose time to rookie Cornelius Washington in the coming weeks.

Despite Major Wright ranking as the worst defender in yesterday's game (based on grades from Pro Football Focus), Chris Conte missed a number of opportunities to stop Reggie Bush for small gains that ended up turning into monsters. He's struggled in both phases of defense this year, and is lucky the team is incredibly weak in terms of depth in the secondary. He'd be losing his job otherwise.

The Bears D allowed just three points in the second half, which is great to see after they made halftime adjustments that included abandoning defensive line calls that former Bear and current Lion Israel Idonije kept calling out and tipping to the offensive coaches. If that's indeed true, it was a major boner on the part of Tucker (who learned the Bears' terminology instead of implementing his own) for not changing signals and calls.

Chicago has been gashed by each of their opponents in one way or another. Yesterday, it was Reggie Bush racking up 173 yards on 22 touches. Last week, it was Antonio Brown tiptoeing and big playing his way to 196 yards on nine catches. Adrian Peterson (27 touches/107 yards) and A.J. Green (nine catches/162 yards) also had big games the first two weeks. The only premier player the Bears have somewhat contained was Calvin Johnson, but that was more due to the fact that Matt Stafford was fairly awful on any throws beyond 10 yards yesterday. If the Bears can't stop a team's number one option and force multiple turnovers, winning games is going to become harder and harder.

The only team to score more points than the Bears are Peyton Manning's unstoppable Broncos. Trestman is doing exactly what he was hired to do -- make the Bears offense potent. But Lovie Smith's defense, albeit with younger players, would have never allowed this many points. The Bears are on pace to allow 456 points in 2013. Smith's worst defense in 2009 allowed 375 -- five points per game better than what they've done so far this year. If there was one thing you could never complain about with Smith, it was the defensive consistency.

If Mel Tucker can't get more out of his defensive line and safeties, every Bears game is going to be a shootout. Sure, they can win some of those, but it's not a successful strategy in December and January.

 
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