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Bears Fri Sep 27 2013

Despite Melton Injury, Bears Will Likely Limit Blitzes

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for GB bears icon.pngIt's been a storyline after each of the first three games so far in 2013. Despite scoring a trio of victories, the Bears front four haven't gotten enough pressure. The response by defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, rightly so, has been to send blitzes from every direction. Charles Tillman, D.J. Williams, Lance Briggs, Chris Conte, and Isaiah Frey have all attacked the quarterback a multitude of times; a fan's dream. Not so for a coach.

Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is probably blitzing a little more than he's comfortable with, but he's done whatever the game has called for to get the win. If that means sending extra guys, so be it.

The problem with that strategy this week is that you can't leave Megatron (a.k.a. Calvin Johnson) alone on the outside with a hobbled Charles Tillman, hoping you can get to the quarterback in time. Making matter worse, Henry Melton, the Bears' franchise defensive tackle, was lost for the year due to a torn ACL. Bad news for a defensive front already struggling to get to the quarterback. Even more so considering he plays the demanding three-technique spot in the Cover 2 defense.

DT Zach Minter, who's been inactive the first three weeks, will likely get to dress this week but there's an outside chance that the newly acquired Landon Cohen will suit up too. Regardless of which player gets the nod, you'll more than likely see defensive ends Julius Peppers (who played much better last week) and Corey Wootton move inside to play more DT -- especially in passing situations.

That means more playing time for Shea McClellin, who's struggled mightily outside of the half sack he was credited with in Week 1. He's been demolished in the running game, failing to separate himself in one-on-one blocks. If he continues to struggle with more playing time, the Bears may turn toward rookie Cornelius Washington. He's dressed all three weeks thus far, but hasn't seen a snap.

The player that will benefit the most from the loss of Melton is his backup, Nate Collins, who's been solid in the 89 snaps he's taken this season, which would actually be a large upgrade. Why? According to Pro Football Focus, Melton ranked as the worst defender for the Bears so far in 2013 (Charles Tillman is a close second -- mainly because he's had pretty rough outings outside of his two-INT performance against Cincinnati), though he had steadily improved after a terrible Week 1.

Peppers, McClellin, Wootton, and Collins are going to be leaned upon heavily this weekend to get to Lions QB Matt Stafford without any help from the linebackers or corners. On a fast turf at Ford Field, along with a middle-of-the-road offensive line employed by the Lions, the situation sets up for success for the Bears' front four. Now they have to deliver without help from the back seven.

 
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