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Chicago Bears Season Lies in the Defense's Hands

Eric PhillipsContributor IJune 1, 2009

DETROIT - SEPTEMBER 30: Tommie Harris #91 of the Chicago Bears blocks Stephen Peterman #66 of the Detroit Lions on September 30, 2007 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Bears 37-27. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The fate of our team lies with our defensive line.

We all know the Chicago Bears. We all seem to get a surprise each and every season. Whether it comes from our RB play or our secondary, it will not translate into wins unless we get strong play from our defensive line.  

I have concluded that without our top notch D-Line, the Bears will continue to struggle. It affects our offense, it affects our defense. In fact, it seems to affect our whole season.

The secondary has to cover the WR's for a lot longer than they should. Linebackers are caught out of position due to poor timing of plays. Plays seem to be taking way too long, which allows so many things to happen. This must be corrected, but will it?

I do have faith in Rod Marinelli, and why shouldn't I? He has great credentials. His resume speaks for itself. But is it enough? Will he turn the Bears back into the monsters of the midway?

Well, he better.

If you can remember years ago, when our defense was among the best, if not the best, it all came from generating pressure on the QB. The Giants Super Bowl run came from the defensive line play and pressure. It forced the great offenses into places they were not used to being in: under pressure.

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When an offense is forced under pressure, it calls for a lot of quick decisions and adjustments. When you can force that time and time again, you will see the effect. It makes everyone else behind you look that much better.

Reflecting on last year, when we played the Colts in the first game, I thought we had something great. It seemed to be a new look, having all our linebackers on the line. Sometimes they would blitz; sometimes they would drop back into coverage.

I thought it was a great idea, especially against P. Manning. He is very intelligent and can read defenses with little effort, it seems.

So when you can use that same formation and create so many different looks once the ball is snapped, it seems to be a great idea.

But it wasn't.

They started doing it every time, and teams caught on. They also started to send the farm, and still couldn't get one person in the backfield.

So when you start sending everyone and STILL can't get to the QB, there is a major problem. As this was the major problem for the whole season.

Among pros and cons, there are so many pros to generating a pass rush...it's hard to name them all:

1. Forces the QB to throw the ball quicker, more likely into a place you don't necessarily want to.

2. Creates mis-reads, forcing interceptions.

3. Creates more three and outs by sacking the QB, stopping the run, or forcing inaccurate throws. This translates into keeping our defense fresh and healthy.

4. Gives the offense better field position. How much does field position help a team like the Bears? A lot.

5. Most important: Gives these guys the feeling that they cannot be touched, and I really believe it makes them better. It makes everyone better.

Tommie Harris: An elite lineman in the NFL? That's what they say when he's healthy.

But I have brought this up time and time again, and what does that do us when he is NEVER healthy?

He is such an important player for this line and he can never seem to play at 100 percent. I understand and respect guys who play through injuries or pain. But this is not doing the Bears any good.

We need an explosive lineman to push everyone else through their gaps. But they still let the guy with a crippled knee command and anchor the line.

This must stop. We need a consistent rusher who can be there every week. Not just a couple of weeks, but EVERY week.

So I really believe it all starts with our defensive line.

Great, we got our QB!! We have needed that for a long time. But he cannot do it by himself, and in order to be a elite team in the NFL, we need to be well-rounded.

Now that we have the tools on offense, we need to sharpen our tools on defense. It all starts and ends here. It would be a real shame to be in the same W-L category with a Pro Bowl QB at the helm. But that's what you're going to get if the cornerstone of our defense does not come to play.

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