Defense deserves credit and blame for Carolina result

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Defense deserves credit and blame for Carolina result

The defense has been the answer for Bears problems in 2012. But while everyone was staring at the offense in the three-quarters debacle against the Carolina Panthers, the defense was a question.

Indeed, blame defense for no small part of the mess that the Bears found themselves in against the Panthers. While the offense couldnt stay on it, the defense couldnt get off it.

Like the offense, the defense turned its game on and around in the fourth quarter. A three-and-out plus Tim Jennings game-changing interception helped save the afternoon.

But the defense held the Carolina offense without a first down on only one of the first nine possessions. For the game, the Panthers had six drives of 45 yards or longer and Carolina sustained drives of eight (twice) 11, 12 and 17 yards, part of why the Panthers after three quarters held a 369-61 advantage in yards and were on the field effectively 30 of the first 45 minutes.

Field goals, schmield goals

The feel-good perspective would be that none of those drives ended in touchdowns. The defense held the Panthers to field goals.

Even when things werent going well, defensively we kept them to field goals and didnt let them get as many touchdowns, said coach Lovie Smith.

When someone drives 80, 74 and 63 yards on you, and drives from their 20 for a late go-ahead field goal, you didnt hold them to anything.

With the game in its hands after Tim Jennings interception, the defense allowed the Panthers to control the ball for 11 plays and move down the field for a go-ahead field goal with a little more than 2 minutes to play, albeit with 15 yards of help on a questionable roughing-the-passer penalty on Israel Idonije.

The Bears ran just 53 total plays on offense; that was a problem. The Panthers ran 77 plays; that was a bigger problem. Only the Detroit Lions (84, second 2011 game) and New England Patriots 78) had more snaps in regulation over the last two-and-a-half seasons.

As ineffectual as the offense was, that groups failure to stay on the field isnt an excuse for the defense dragging. The 17-play and one of the eights were in the second quarter, and the Panthers wet 80 yards in 12 plays on their first possession of the third quarter, after the defense had halftime and a couple minutes of Bears possession to rest.

If the defense was tired on those drives, the strength and conditioning coach should be fired (he shouldnt).

How they think

The Lovie SmithRod Marinelli scheme is sometimes characterized as bend-dont-break. Not exactly.

The front four plays a one-gap, up-the-field attack approach. It is not a wide-body, two-gap style. Behind them, the mindset is about controlling the game.

Sooner or later somebody is going to make a play, Jennings said. We know its tough to drive the field on us. Were going to give up plays but we want to keep things in front of us and hopefully theyre going to break before we do. Thats our mentality.

The problem on Sunday was that the Panthers werent breaking. Carolina converted seven of its first 12 third downs and had 10 plays of 15 yards or longer; the Bears had three.

Avisail Garcia tweaks hamstring late in White Sox loss

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Avisail Garcia tweaks hamstring late in White Sox loss

BALTIMORE — Avisail Garcia could be the latest member of the White Sox afflicted by an injury.

The White Sox designated hitter tweaked his right hamstring late in Friday’s 6-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles and will be re-evaluated Saturday. Earlier in the day, the White Sox placed reliever Daniel Webb on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow flexor inflammation. That comes after catcher Alex Avila and Kevan Smith also went on the DL earlier in the week.

“He looked like he twinged something in his hammy,” manager Robin Ventura said. “But everybody seems to be having something, so we’ll re evaluate and see him tomorrow.”

Garcia tweaked his right leg on the final play of the game as he tried to avoid the tag of Orioles first baseman Chris Davis. An injury couldn’t come at a worse time for Garcia, who tripled in a run in the second inning to keep a hot streak alive. Garcia is 8-for-18 on the road trip with four RBIs and has raised his average from .135 to .214.

Bears' rationale for drafting Floyd says as much about Pace as it does Floyd

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Bears' rationale for drafting Floyd says as much about Pace as it does Floyd

Hidden in all Bears GM Ryan Pace’s descriptors of the skills belonging to No. 1 draft pick Leonard Floyd was one even more revealing about Pace himself.

Four times within the span of about 10 minutes Pace referred to “tape” when discussing Floyd, while specifically referencing that while workouts are important, they factor into evaluations far, far less than what a player shows up doing in games, not drills.

Where former GM Phil Emery spoke constantly about measurables, Pace has brought the conversation back to what he, scouts and coaches saw on film – on more than one occasion.

Re. Floyd’s lack of big sack numbers at Georgia:

“You know when you watch the tape: They move him all over. He’s such a versatile athlete, so he playing inside linebacker one snap and the next snap he’s in nickel running down the field with a slot receiver. And then he’s rushing. You see him at all these different positions.”

Re. Floyd failing to bench press at his Pro Day:

“I think at his Pro Day he had a stomach virus. But I’m telling you: When you see this guy on tape… .”

Re. Floyd not finishing or doing every Combine test:

“For some guys, workouts are important and you can see their speed, change of directions, hips. But some guys, the athleticism is so evident on tape. The workouts matter but you’ve just got to be careful with it.”

Re. Floyd’s apparent lack of bulk and strength:

“You see it on tape: You don’t see guys getting into him. Guys that I think struggle against the run, they let offensive linemen get into their chest and get engulfed by blocks. He doesn’t do that. He plays with such great separation, he keeps that from happening.”

Indeed, the tape and not the measurable or even the stats has served the Bears very well. In the 2004 draft the Bears used the No. 14 pick to select Tommie Harris. The Oklahoma defensive tackle was the 2003 Lombardi Trophy winner as the nation’s best defensive lineman or linebacker with a resume of four sacks (Floyd had 4.5 last season) and 34 tackles that season.

Harris became the Bears’ most dominant defensive lineman of the decade and three-time Pro Bowl selection before his career succumbed to knee issues.

Sounding suspiciously like Pace, ''if you watch film, you'll see that I'm disruptive,'' Harris told the Athens Banner-Herald, ''All people care about is statistics. I've never been about stats.''

Evidently, neither is Pace.

Jonathan Bullard Chicago Bears NFL Draft Profile

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Jonathan Bullard Chicago Bears NFL Draft Profile

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 150 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Jonathan Bullard (DL), Florida

6’3” | 285 lbs.

2015 stats:

63 tackles, 18 TFL, 6.5 sacks, 2 PD

Selection:

3rd Round, 72nd overall to Chicago Bears

Scouting Report:

"Where He Wins: Bullard tested like a great athlete, which was a bit surprising. I love his ability to win as a defensive end against the run and impact passing downs when lining up inside. Bullard can win with power immediately or can win with length to shed and make the tackle." - Josh Norris, Rotoworld.com

Video analysis provided by NBC Sports and Rotoworld NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.