Critical lapses crushing Bears defense

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by short faced bear, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    Mistakes key to Lions' clinching TD pass and crucial 39-yard run that ignited scoring drive at start of 2nd half

    By Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune reporter

    7:42 p.m. CST, November 13, 2013

    For chunks of Sunday's game at Soldier Field, the Bears' defense seemed as alert and meticulous as a bomb squad, carefully disarming the wiring that makes the Lions' offense so explosive.

    Running back Reggie Bush couldn't quite get started, plodding through a first half in which he managed only 16 yards on five rushes.

    Matthew Stafford's .514 completion percentage for the game was his lowest all season.

    And All-World receiver Calvin Johnson? Well, the Lions have thrown his way 27 times in two games against the Bears but averaged only 4.7 yards on those attempts.

    No wonder coach Marc Trestman left Sunday encouraged with the effort of his patched-together defense.

    The Bears, after all, limited the Lions to 364 total yards and 21 points, significantly below their season averages.

    "Our defense played well enough to win," Trestman said again Wednesday.

    But the Bears didn't win Sunday in part because of critical defensive lapses in key situations. The most costly came with 2 minutes, 28 seconds left and the Lions facing third-and-10 at the Bears 14. If they had settled for a field goal there, the Bears would have gotten the ball back down 17-13.

    Instead, coordinator Mel Tucker deployed man coverage with a single-high safety look, leaving Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman on an island with Johnson. With no help over the top.

    Practically drooling before the snap, Stafford zeroed in on his favorite receiver the whole way, lobbing an easy fade to Johnson for a touchdown.

    Major Wright, the deep safety on the play, had no chance of covering the 26 yards from the middle of the field to the sideline in time to reach Johnson in the back left corner of the end zone.

    Chris Conte, the Bears' other safety, had come up to cover tight end Brandon Pettigrew.

    So Johnson simply froze Tillman with a jab step inside and cruised under Stafford's pass with little obstruction.

    "He just made a good move off the line of scrimmage and they were able to hit him over the top," Tucker said. "That happens. That's pretty much what it was. Just a single-high look from us and they made a good throw and a good catch."

    On an otherwise solid afternoon defensively, Tucker's decision not to pay more attention to Johnson on a pivotal play proved fateful.

    Equally damaging: the 39-yard counter run Bush ripped off on the first series after halftime. It was the Lions' biggest play of the afternoon and sparked a touchdown drive that put them ahead to stay.

    The big blow: Rookie defensive end David Bass was unable to force Bush outside, "spilling the play" as he was ordered, to where middle linebacker Jon Bostic had looped correctly.

    Instead, with pulling left guard Rob Sims holding up Bass and nose tackle Stephen Paea swallowed up inside, Bush found a wide cutback lane and fired through.

    Strong-side linebacker Khaseem Greene couldn't shed his block to help. Conte missed an open field tackle.

    And just like that, Bush's per-carry average for the afternoon spiked from 2.5 yards to 7.7.

    "We did a better job overall (against the run)," defensive lineman Corey Wootton said. "But we definitely have to fit up some things because it's gap-to-gap football that we've been messing up on.

    "Plays that should be maybe a 1-yard gain end up going for 20. We can't keep allowing that."

    Bush finished Sunday with 105 yards on 14 rushes.

    Stafford and Johnson finished with a victory-sealing highlight that seemed to come all too effortlessly.

    "That was tough," Wootton said. "I put that on the rush. We have to do a better job affecting (the quarterback). Especially when you have a guy like Calvin Johnson."

    As well as the Bears defense held up Sunday, the end result still stung.

    "There are no moral victories or anything like that in what we did," Tucker said.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sport...ears-defense-chicago-20131114,0,3654863.story
  2. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    The D has played better, but the pressure has not been enough to affect the course of the play.

    I guess the new D motto can be "We suck less"
  3. tey216

    tey216 Rookie

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    According to Trestman... Mel Tucker is doing an amazing job...
  4. jackiejokeman

    jackiejokeman Pro-Bowler

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    Its all new... Cherry coaching ...Cherry players ...injured players.

    Its a perfect storm ... hopefully it should gel.

    Remember that some predictions were as low as 2-14.
  5. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    oh, yeah... I'm amazed by it almost every week....
  6. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    I'd love to hear what people think Tucker should be doing/running differently. both DT's inj'd, he has 1 actual threat at DE, and he's WAY to old to do it himself, missing his best overall player in Briggs, as well as his best MLB in WIlliams, and now he's missing his best CB.

    I'd love to see what Lovie would do w/this mess.....oh wait I've seen it w/far less inj's and it's not pretty either.
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  7. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I was thinking the same thing. It would be like losing our key guys on offense, like losing 3 or 4 starters on the offensive line, and then Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Forte and our lone receiving TE. And maybe a few key backup players too - In addition to losing Cutler for the entire season on IR. Then have the fans want to crucify Kromer and Trestman for the offense playing bad.

    Fans - you gotta love 'em.
  8. Henry Burris

    Henry Burris Head Coach

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    Of course you blame the defense for this loss.
  9. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    All true (the severe personnel losses). Tucker hasn't had much to work with. But.....on the other hand.....to be fair and balanced....the defense was BAD BAD BAD early in the year before the injury parade reached critical mass. Lets be honest here. I'm not looking to scapegoat Tucker for the frustrating free fall of the Bears defense or certainly not for the offensive inconsistency that also has cost us winnable games. But (small sample size to judge from admittedly) he didn't impress anyone even when he had full or near-full strength on the D roster.

    I'll ignore getting torched by AJ Green and Jimmy Graham because those dudes will hurt a lot of teams but the defensive performances against Minnesota, Pittsburgh, the Giants, and (later) Washington were pretty pathetic.
  10. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    Shoot JABF. We lost the most importand guy on the O, our QB. So did GB. Our team was able to keep performing because our coaches on O were smarter than the fans (including me) and knew that had a capable backup in McCown. the GB coaches did not and their play tanked.

    Trestman made sure that the O was something that McCown could run and succeed with. I think saying Tucker is not the primary cause because the injuries are more to blame is not right. I think too, saying that the injuries are the cause, that Tucker is not to blame is not right either.

    Here is a good article on Tucker. I think pretty well balanced.

    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/foot...-revamped-practices-game-plans-for-bears.html

    I actually think Tucker is finally doing some really basic coaching and it is paying off. More time with position coaches, etc... Things that will bring up a poorly performing unit.

    So that is the good stuff, and I think it is showing up on the field. Why it has taken so long, I don't know? I think whatever direction is taken is by Tuckers decision, so only he knows.

    Here is one part of the article that says:

    Tucker knows his defense has deficiencies. Their pass rush lacks consistency, they continuously have problems reading opponents’ run games and their poor tackling has been unforgivable.

    All of those things have been noticed and I don't know who to blame other than Tucker. You can say that he is playing backups. Well, Trestman seemed to find good backups. Other top coaches seem to be able to go plug and play. These guys are having to go back and make sure that they are reading opponents properly (Urlacher could do it, why can't a DC?). Teams don't practice tackling, but most teams do ok by mid season. We are still having to coach them up on this. IDK, this is not a one dimensional problem, and the solution will not be one dimensional.

    From my perspective, I am not happy with Tucker. That may change as time goes on, but I can not be happy with him while acknowledging that he has had a raw deal when it comes to injuries. The season sis not start with injuries and we have had no pass rush since the beginning. I have seen no real game time adjustments to getting slashed in the run game. Only now do I see him focusing on fundamentals to bring the D capabilities up, and that does seem to be working.

    So far, I think he is middle of the road, and that is being generous. He started with a top 5 defense and now it is down to the bottom 5. Injuries do not tell the whole story here, IMO.
  11. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Not sure you can compare losing 1 qb, to losing 7 guys on Def. Ignore GB altogether, how they have drafted over the last several years has set them up far better then the Bears are.

    As for how they started off playing, you are correct MP, but Peppers had not played all pre season b/c of an inj, and Melton went out 3 games into the season, and he also didn't play in pre season b/c of a concussion. So of course Peppers and Melton were going to start off slow, Henry was hurt before he could even start to get going(less then 4 games), Peppers age has straight caught up w/him, he's never going to get hot and stay hot. It's not like we got to see this team 100% healthy and up and running from the get go.
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  12. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I'm not saying Tucker is good - or bad. But no defensive unit can lose as many players as we have to injury - and be anything but bad. Injuries happen to all teams. But we've been especially hurt on defense. This morning I went back and looked over the starters on offense and defense, in our first games of the season. Cutler is our key injury on offense, and he'll be back soon. But when I looked over the defense, it was pretty shocking. Keep in mind we lost our "Cutler" on defense before the season began, when we moved on from future Hall of Famer Urlacher. Before folks savage me by saying he was needing replacement, please note that I fully agree with letting him go. But he was the QB of our defense, which is now a new guy Bostic. There is no way Bostic sets a defense like a HOF veteran. And this first loss, was before the first man dropped to injury this season.

    The equivalent on offense would be losing 3 or 4 of our offensive linemen (high caliber guys like Bushrod, Kyle Long & maybe Slauson), Cutler, Forte, Brandon Marshall & Alshon Jeffery - in one season.

    Think about that. Let it soak in.

    Tucker could be the worst coach ever to walk planet earth. But no coach can make chicken salad out of the chicken crap we now have on defense. Ain't gonna happen. So, when folks rant about the defense, I take it with a grain of salt. There are some heavy-hitting uncontrollable factors in this equation that crippled us. No Cornelius Washington is going to salvage our season after losing guys - multiple Pro Bowl level guys - and other key (vitally key) players we've lost. It's reality. Of course folks don't want to accept reality. I guess it's just the world we live in now.
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  13. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    JABF, I can think of many teams that have had a rash of injuries and have kept going. Some better than others. I can also think of several teams that have lost their starting QB and that was the end of their season. I think that losing your starting QB can be just as bad (and in some cases moreso) than losing a bunch of other players.

    But that's just me. I could be wrong. And often am....
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  14. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    That's all I'm saying JABF, imo the guy gets an icomplete b/c there is no way you can know what you have in him until he has a chance to have a full offseason to set up HIS Def scheme and have a run w/a MOSTLY healthy set of key payers.
    Imgaine if we had brougth in Bushrod and he was just to old(like how we got Pace), that would be what we have in Peppers right now
    Losing Melton and Collins(1a/1b starters), guys that break down the film say Collins is every bit as good as Melton is, really is like losing Slauson and, at least Garza maybe Long.
    Losing Briggs and DJ is like losing Cutler and DaBU
    Losing Tillman is like losing Marshal
    Losing Shea is like losing Mills

    How would this O look wL
    OL: Pace, Brown, Boggs, Long, Britton
    skill players: McCown, Jeffery, Earl, Rosario and Forte

    Think this O is still ranking in, or near the top 10?
  15. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    But my point is the level & importance of the key players lost was especially devastating. This wasn't the normal rash of injuries. Losing Tillman was the final straw. I can never remember a season like this. Of course I'm old and my memory is spotty at best now :)
  16. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    That's my take on it too, Ric. And while letting Urlacher go was the right idea (I fully supported that decision and still do), there is no way Bostic can QB a defense like a veteran Hall of Fame level guy. Bostic is still trying to figure out his OWN game right now (some good plays, some inept plays that rookies all make).

    Then you lump the injuries in. Stir that all together, and you come up with what we now have - a bad defense that NO coach could overcome. None.

    Finally, I do like your suggestion that Tucker gets an "incomplete" for this season's grade. He may be a horrible coach - but how do we know? Give the guy some players, and see if he can coach. Right now we're talking about the mighty CornWalsh being our last hope. How dysfunctional is THAT?????
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  17. mdbearz

    mdbearz Veteran

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    The defense really looks bad, but there is simply no way you can have that many injuries and look good.

    But, if we can get Briggs and Ratliff playing again before it is too late, plus getting the rookies sooo much play time is going to make them better.

    There is still a glimer of hope that the Defense can improve to the point that they are acceptable, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
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  18. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    We'll have to see what Ratliff looks like, he hasn't been much, even before the inj over the last few years. But ANYTHING is better then having Wootton play DT and forcing Shea and Bass to be 1st/backup.
  19. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    The good thing here is that next season, after Emery works his magic & restocks the cupboard with some real talent, AND we have these young guys who are getting priceless game reps THIS year - well, it should be a real turnaround on defense. Like we saw with our offense THIS year. I am encouraged by that thought.
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  20. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    I think that's the only hope left to salvage something defensively this season. I don't expect Ratliff to play at pro bowl level but if he can be just moderately good (and help stuff the inside runs which have killed us this year) that will make a big difference. As you mentioned, moving Wootton back outside where he's best suited (and he did a reasonable decent job as a DT for a guy who doesn't belong there size-wise) improves two positions at once. That's my optimistic hope anyway.

    I have no illusions that this team is SB bound or even can make a deep playoff run but yeah I'd like to see them still make it somehow. Thanks to screwups vs Detroit X 2 and Washington, we need to pretty much win 6 out of the last 7 and get some help. Not likely but the Ratiff/Briggs/Woot/Cutler-back scenario is the only faint hope left.
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