The Chicago Bears Defense: Scratching and Clawing to Wins

Bryan DietzlerSenior Analyst IOctober 3, 2009

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 20: (L-R) Nick Roach #53, Alex Brown #96 and Danieal Manning #38 of the Chicago Bears gang tackle Willie Parker #39 of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Soldier Field on September 20, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Bears have suffered some of the toughest adversity in the NFL thanks to injury.  Just one quarter into their first game (against the Packers) they not only lost linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa they also lost their star linebacker Brian Urlacher for the season to injury.  Since that game, they have also lost Hunter Hillenmeyer for a little while and have had to do some switching at the linebacker position to accommodate for all of these injuries.  There have been some non injury shakeups in the secondary as well as second year cornerback Zachary Bowman has taken over for Nathan Vasher.  Bowman has played pretty well in place of Vasher and has helped to solidify the secondary.

The defensive line has come along very well so far this season and they are generating much more pass pressure than they did in 2008.  Perhaps the hiring of former Detroit Lions head coach Rod Marinelli has helped them out there.  Both defensive ends Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye have played very well to start the season.  They are also getting some decent production out of their tackles but the guy that they had hoped would step up and play better, Tommie Harris, hasn’t been making as big of an impact as the Bears would like.  He will need to step it up if the defensive line is to help make as big of a difference in the future.

One interesting thing that the Bears have done to help enhance their pass rush is use defensive end Mark Anderson on the inside in order to shake things up a little bit.  This has worked to some extent as Anderson is quick and able to move up and down the line quickly but still hasn’t put that much pressure on the quarterback.  Perhaps this experiment will yield results with more experience.

The Bears cannot afford to lose too many more players on defense but they have fought very hard with the players that they have had.  Granted, the offense hasn’t put up any big leads on teams and the Bears have had to play three of the toughest teams in the NFC but they are getting it done and winning.  As long as no one else gets injured and their defense can continue to hold this team could very easily keep winning and take the NFC North in the end. 

Their ability to hold off opposing offenses and help their team win the game is the mark of a great defense and the Bears have had to do that twice so far this season.  If their offense can ever get a big enough lead, this defense can sit back a little bit and play “softer” than they have had to which would be a welcome relief for this defense.  But for now, this scrappy group is keeping their team in games and as we have seen is helping the Bears into the win column.