He probably didn’t need one, being in his first year as Bears defensive coordinator, but Mel Tucker received a strong vote of confidence from his boss on Wednesday.
The Bears rank near the bottom of nearly all defensive categories but “I can tell you, Mel’s done an amazing job in my opinion,” coach Marc Trestman said.
“Are we where we want to be? No. We’re always trying to get better. But I think he’s done an outstanding job in the classroom. On the field he’s excellent, and I think he’s done a great job of being on the field and managing the team for the last couple of games on the field. It’s very impressive to watch.”
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The results have not been. But there is more to the story.
Through nine games the Bears are 27th in points allowed, 26th in yardage allowed and higher than 21st in no category other than interception percentage.
But Tucker has coached through the loss of two of his three best defensive tackles (Nate Collins, Henry Melton), his starting middle linebacker (D.J. Williams) and injuries to one Pro Bowl cornerback, now done for the season (Charles Tillman).
Linebacker Lance Briggs has missed the past two games with a fractured shoulder. The Bears 41 combined points scored by Green Bay and Detroit are the fewest in any two-game stretch this season.
And for perspective purposes, the Bears held only one of their final five opponents in 2012 to fewer than 21 points, suggesting that Tucker inherited some issues.
“He has been consistent with the guys in terms of his passion, the way he’s teaching,” Trestman said. “He’s a positive guy. I thought as I talked to the team on Monday, I thought our defense played well enough for us to win under unusual circumstances because of the situation of having so many players out that gave our team a chance to win. I think that starts with Mel, and our staff getting the guys ready, continuing to work with them to try and improve.”