Lovie Smith is gone. Brian Urlacher is gone. So is defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. All linchpin parts of a defense that was fifth in yardage allowed and third in points given up.
So if anyone wants to write off and forget about the 2013 defense, fine. It’s happened before.
“We’ll let them forget,” said safety Major Wright. “But come Sunday we’re definitely going to take the ball away and get after the quarterback. We’re definitely going to do that.
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“We’re going to play Bear defense. We can be under the radar. That’s just like every year—we’re under the radar.”
Through the four preseason games the Bears came up with an NFL-high 13 takeaways. Notably perhaps, preseason or not, that wasn’t up to last year’s best standard. But it was close, very close.
Three time in spans of five games the Bears collected 14 takeaways: games 1-4, Indianapolis to Dallas; games 4-7, Dallas through Carolina; and games 5-8, Jacksonville through Tennessee.
“If we don’t get a takeaway,” Wright said, “we feel like our day didn’t go right.”
The 2012 defense for 12 games had Urlacher, who had an interception, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries himself. That the Brian-less defense has stayed the takeaway course, “I’m not surprised because being that this is the Bear defense, it prides itself on takeaways and getting to the ball,” Wright said. “I’m not surprised.
“It’s just this defense. Way back when, it was taking the ball away.”