The Detroit Lions were not the only team to rock the 2013 Bears defense, just the latest.
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After a year in which they finished Top 5 in both yardage and points allowed, the Bears are struggling. Their numbers are poor and the problem is not just one or even two statistical blips. They have allowed no fewer than 340 yards and 21 points to any of their four opponents, and those included no offense other than Detroit’s ranked higher than 15th in yardage. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh rank 22nd and 25th in scoring.
Expectations of the defense needed to be realistic given the exits of Lovie Smith, Rod Marinelli and Brian Urlacher. But even with allowances for those departures, the defensive situation is bordering on the dire.
Urlacher through the early part of last season was struggling to round into playing shape after offseason knee procedures. So the concern now is magnified by the fact that the defense is under-performing what it did with Urlacher in a very diminished capacity.
The unit has arguably upgraded at strong-side linebacker with James Anderson replacing Nick Roach. Safeties Chris Conte and Major Wright are in their second full season together. Stephen Paea and Corey Wootton were to be ascending.
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Yet it is making the kinds of mistakes that bad defenses make, ones rarely associated with recent Bears defenses.
“You’ve just got to be disciplined,” linebacker Lance Briggs said. “We have to be disciplined and we have to be fundamentally sound. Just going back to the drawing board and just like in OTAs, just like in training camp, guys have got to get in their gaps and do their jobs.”
How severe is the slide?
A defense built on preventing big plays has enabled them. The Bears allowed 47 pass plays of 20 or more yards all last season; they have given up 21 through four games in 2013.
“If they have to drive the length of the field, it’s our job to get off the field,” Briggs said. “It’s our job to either get off the field or turn the ball over to create another opportunity for our offense. And so, that’s just disappointing.”
|INT %||6.6 %||4.3 %|
|Sacks/att||0.09 (5th)||0.04 (29th)|
|3rd down eff.||26.1 %||39.6 %|