The Bear Den: The Pressure Is On The Bears Defense

Zack Pearson@Zack_PearsonCorrespondent IJune 7, 2009

CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 09:  Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears stands in the huddle with the defense against the Tennessee Titans at Soldier Field on November 9, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Do you remember back in the 2005 and 2006 seasons, when people were calling the Bears defense the best in the NFL?

Or when a lot of people were comparing those defenses to that of the 1985 Super Bowl champions?

Things have changed, my friends.

In the 2007 and 2008 seasons, the Bears didn't play up to their potential on defense.

They were blowing leads, blowing coverage, and missing tackles. Something was wrong.

Sure, you can credit Ron Rivera's departure for San Diego as a potential cause. Or was it just the fact that the defense was actually bad?

Well, whatever the reason, the defense had better step it up this year.

The pressure is all on them.

Forget the pressure that will be put on Jay Cutler to succeed. Forget the pressure for Matt Forte to duplicate his rookie season. Forget the pressure on the receiving corps.

Cutler could throw for 30 or more touchdowns, Forte could run for 1,000 yards, and the receivers could easily have big years, but none of that will matter if the defense is not playing to 2006 form.

That's why all the pressure is on the defense this season.

The Bears certainly cant have the defense blowing late leads, in games we should be winning. It will be up to them to buckle down and keep the leads intact.

Staying healthy is also key.

The last two years we have seen Nathan Vasher, Brian Urlacher, Tommie Harris, Mike Brown, Charles Tillman, Dusty Dvoracek, and Adewale Ogunleye all have injury problems.

If those guys can stay healthy and the defense is back in form, this team can have a scary defense.

On the flip side, if injuries are a problem again and the defense isn't up to form, this team can have a bad defense.

The key to this season weighs on the defense's shoulders. Giving up a lot of points and forcing the offense to play better than advertised might be tough.

The offense can only do so much.

If the offense is putting up big numbers and torching defenses but the defense itself is getting torched, that will be a problem.

I'm asking for Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Tillman, Harris, and Vasher all to play up to expectations. If they do that, I believe they will be a dominant defense.

So Cutler, Forte and the receivers can take a deep breath. Go out there and play up to your capabilities. Don't worry about it.

It's the defense that should feel the pressure for the Bears to have a successful season.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.