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Chicago Bears Offseason Needs: Defense

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 28: Tommie Harris #91 of the Chicago Bears rests on the bench during a game against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on December 28, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Vikings 36-30 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Bryan DietzlerSenior Analyst IFebruary 15, 2010

The once proud Bears defense took an even bigger fall in 2009 and was yet another reason why the team struggled for most of the 2009 season.  Perhaps some of it can fall on head coach Lovie Smith’s shoulders for calling the defensive plays while additional blame can be given to the loss of middle linebacker Brian Urlacher to an injury in the first game of the year. 

Now the Bears are faced with some critical decisions heading into the offseason.  They have to fix some things on defense in order to get back to where they want to be and that’s a tough defense that plays the run tough and keeps teams from getting a lot of passing yards. 

They need to get more sacks and a lot more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.  Will the introduction of Rod Marinelli as defensive coordinator help them out?  Will things change with him at the helm of the defense now or will they remain the same.

So many questions.

The Bears need help at several positions on defense but let’s take a look at the top five needs that they have on defense going into the offseason.


Defensive End

With the loss of Gaines Adams and the potential free agent loss of Adewale Ogunleye the Bears may end up having a huge hole at the defensive end position.  With a lack of draft picks and great free agent possibilities they will have to get creative and find some additional pass rushers.  Perhaps they will have a shot at Julius Peppers?


Safety

Since the departure of Mike Brown and even before that, the Bears haven’t seen a lot of stability and solid play at the safety position.  Chicago could use a good hard hitting ball hawk for a safety and should make some moves to acquire someone like that.  It would help them out a lot against the run and the pass.


Defensive Tackle

Perhaps some good depth here would be a nice thing but with starter Tommie Harris underwhelming for the most part Chicago may want to consider adding a starter to the mix.  This would be a good move not only to help provide some competition at the position but also add some much needed depth there.


Linebacker

This may not be an immediate need as the Bears expect Urlacher and Pisa Tinoisamoa back and healthy for training camp and the depth here is pretty strong. 

However, we saw what happened when Urlacher went out and so a strong future starter would be a good idea and if Chicago could get someone who could end up being a starter at some point that would be good.

The Bears had a lot of problems holding opponents passing games last season and failed to keep opponents from converting third down opportunities much of the time.  We will all remember the bad performances that the Bears had against the Cincinnati Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals and those breakdowns, along with many others helped contribute to a less than perfect season. 

What can the Bears do to improve their defense?  Unfortunately they can’t do much because of the lack of draft picks that they have as well as the lack of talent that will be available in free agency this year so they will have to get the most out of every move that they make this offseason. 

Perhaps going after Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers would be a good possibility?  He would certainly give the Bears something that they haven’t had at the position in a long time and could make the defense that much better.  Let’s see if the Bears actually make a play for him this offseason.

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