Not tough enough in ’13, Bears DL entering 'violent shed'

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by The Benjamin, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas Staff Member

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    June 18, 2014, 3:00 pm

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    As one former Bears head coach intoned, the past is for cowards and losers. Marc Trestman is not living in or dwelling on the past, but he is blunt about it and not seeing a repeat of one disturbing part of it:

    “We weren’t the tough team we wanted to be [in 2013] for a lot of different reasons,” Trestman said on Wednesday.

    “We want to accentuate it this year.”

    If this is an indication of what may be coming with the start of training camp in five weeks, it already is being accentuated, and this without pads or contact allowed.

    Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker spoke of the usual focus points for the Bears' defensive line — hand use, pad level, setting a vertical edge in the run game “and then being able to play your gap and half of another gap” — but then he added a new venue for the crucible that will be the competition along the defensive line:

    “That’s a violent-shed situation,” Tucker said, adding quickly, “I like the group so far. It’s a lot of competition. There’s a lot of guys in there that we think can make this team and we have to make sure we get them reps in training camp so we know who are the right guys for us.”

    Life in the “violent shed” will indeed be intense. The starting front four is virtually set, with ends Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston and tackles Stephen Paea and Jeremiah Ratliff.

    But Paea is facing a challenge from nose tackle Ego Ferguson, like Paea a second-round pick, and there is the matter of Will Sutton, the Bears’ third-round pick and a projected three-technique behind Ratliff.

    But supposing that Nate Collins is conceding anything at either tackle spot would be seriously in error. That makes five defensive tackles and nothing assures that all five make the opening-day roster.

    At end it is no less violent: Allen, Houston and Willie Young at locks, with returning vet Israel Idonije always a consideration because of versatility, including special teams.
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  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Nice post Benji. I love this mix of experienced vets, young guys on their way up and rookies that we have. This was like making a defensive line stew with just the right ingredients now it's up to the coaching staff to get them playing as a unit like Kromer was able to do with the OLine.

    There's only room for 9 or 10 DLinemen and this article lists 9 already all with a pretty fair chance of making the final 53 man roster including Collins and Izzy. I hate to say this but you can almost count on at least one injury happening either in camp or preseason but even if that happens there's only 1 or 2 spots open and a whole lot of guys competing to get one especially at DE.

    Bringing in 6 free agent DEs wasn't a shot across the bow of guys like Bass and Washington it was a shot straight between the eyes. Paea and Collins got one two when they drafted the rookies and also brought in one of Clint Hurtt's guys from Louisville as an UDFA. This year there's gonna be no gimme's and we're gonna have the quality depth we need to meet any injury challenges.

    Gonna be some real battles going on in camp and in the preseason for those few spots that are open and we may need to let some good talent go. How much different is this from last year?
  3. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Some guys will be battling for their NFL lives. This may be "it" for people like C.Washington......the last opportunity to make it in the NFL. If that doesn't bring out the killer-instinct in them then nothing will. This level of competition should make the final roster just that much stronger. No country club "Camp Lovie" here.
  4. BelieveInMonsters

    BelieveInMonsters Veteran

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    Trestman wants Bears to exhibit franchise’s trademark toughness
    BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter

    June 18, 2014 9:30PM

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    Bears Beat: Cutler and his QBs


    Bears Beat: Cutler and his QBs


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    Bears Beat: Cutler and his QBs
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    Updated: June 18, 2014 10:42PM


    George Halas or Mike Ditka couldn’t have said it any better.



    “There’s a way to play football in Chicago and that’s to be tough and physical — set a vertical edge, violent-shed and run to the football. We’ve go to practice that way every day to be the team we want to be.”



    Bears coach Marc Trestman tried to put out the fire moments after speaking those words — “To write stories about toughness is just exaggerating … we’re just making it a point of emphasis” — but it was too late. When you start talking about the Chicago Bears and the need for “toughness” and then reference former Bears — like Ditka, Mike Singletary, Otis Wilson and Gale Sayers — talking about the glory days when men were men and the Bears were feared because of how nasty they were, there’s no turning back. Trying to keep that in perspective in this town is like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.



    Playing tougher football might be a “point of emphasis” for Trestman, but it’s the meaning of life to long-time Bears fans who revel in the big-bad history of this franchise — from Bronko Nagurski to Dick Butkus to the Super Bowl Bears “Junkyard Dogs” to Brian Urlacher.



    “We weren’t the tough team we wanted to be [in 2013] for a lot of different reasons. We want to accentuate it this year,” Trestman said when asked about defensive coordinator Mel Tucker’s desire to be “salty … rugged … and stout” on defense after finishing 30th in the NFL in total defense in 2013.



    “We’re a team that wants to play — even offensively — with a defensive mentality. The best defenses play tough and physical. Games are won — we talk about it every week — [at] the line of scrimmage. There’s seldom a game you win where you can’t at least somewhat run the ball effectively and stop the run. That has been a strong point of emphasis.”



    A year after he rebuilt the offensive line, general manager Phil Emery is trying a similar trick on the defensive line in 2014. Annually among the league leaders in total defense and rushing defense under Lovie Smith, the Bears’ defense was an embarrassing 32nd in the NFL in total yards and rushing yards and 26th in sacks per pass play in 2013.



    Emery signed five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen, Raiders sack leader Lamarr Houston and former Lions defensive end Willie Young in free agency. He re-signed former Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff — a mid-season pickup last year who looks like he still has gas in the tank. And he drafted two tackles — Ego Ferguson of LSU in the second round and Will Sutton of Arizona State in the third round.



    Two coaching-staff hires also have changed the tenor of the Bears’ defense — line coach Paul Pasqualoni (“a hard-nosed, tough guy, a no-nonsense guy,” Tucker said.) and linebackers coach Reggie Herring. Both are veteran coaches — Pasqualoni has coached since 1972; Herring since 1981 — and both have NFL experience.



    Already, the roster battles indicate an upgrade. Stephen Paea was the starting defensive tackle last season. His absence was noticeable when he missed three games with an injury. But this year he’s fighting for a roster spot.



    That’s the kind of competition the Bears are hoping will add even more fuel to the defensive line performance this season.



    Tucker made it clear what the Bears were looking for.



    “It’s a salty group,” Tucker said. “We’re putting a premium on toughness and being rugged and being stout — and having tremendous anchor in our d-line and being able to control blockers. [Players] that violent shed and make plays and push the pocket in the passing game, and then win one-on-ones.



    “In order to do that you have to be tough and you have to be physical. You can’t play any other way if you don’t have tough guys who are willing to scrap and fight and toss guys around to win one-on-ones.”



    Trestman came to Chicago as an outsider, but he has embraced the Bears tradition, maybe more than anybody thought he would.



    “Being a Bear starts on the defensive side of the ball, and with the mentality of what a Bears defense plays like,” Trestman said. “Mike Singletary came by. Otis Wilson came by. Mike Ditka came by. Gale [Sayers] talked about it the other day when he was in — and we want to reinforce that.”



    As Trestman pointed out, the Bears not only have to tough, but also tackle well. He might want to show his players highlights of the great Butkus — the meanest, baddest guy around also was a textbook tackler.



    “Salty helps as long as your fundamentals and technique are sound,” Trestman said. “Tough guys without system doesn’t work very good. It all goes together. That’s what makes great defenses. We think we’ve got the right guys to do it. We’ll see. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”



    Email: mpotash@suntimes.com

    Twitter: @MarkPotash
  5. BelieveInMonsters

    BelieveInMonsters Veteran

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      • Observations: D lacked toughness in 2013
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      • By Jeff Dickerson | June 18, 2014 5:33:32 PM PDT

      LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- A conclusion was reached after the Chicago Bears' front office and coaching staff sifted through the wreckage of last year’s defense.

      The unit, which ranked No. 30 overall and allowed a league worst 161.4 rushing yards per game, needed to toughen up.

      First, the club went through the process of refortifying its defensive line with the additions of Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Willie Young and re-signing defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff for two years.

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      Singletary

    • And to further accentuate the need to play with a greater edge in 2014, the Bears invited Hall of Famers Mike Ditka, Gayle Sayers and Mike Singletary, plus former linebacker and Super Bowl champion Otis Wilson, to speak to the team at various points in the offseason.

    • “We weren’t the tough team we wanted to be for a lot of different reasons,” Bears head coach Marc Trestman said on Wednesday. “We want to accentuate it this year. Playing football and being a Chicago Bear, we brought a lot of former alumni in here, and the universal language hasn’t just come from me. It has come from those people. We’re a team that wants to play -- even offensively -- with a defensive mentality. And there’s a way to play football in Chicago and that’s to be tough and physical, set a vertical edge, violent shed and run to the football. We’ve got to practice that way every day to be that team we want to be.

      "We’re not there yet. We know that. We’re trying to get there because that’s the way every team plays in the National Football League. The best defenses play tough and physical. And games are won -- we talk about it every week -- there’s a lot of different ways to win, but you seldom win a game (in which) you don’t win the line of scrimmage. There’s seldom a game you win where you can’t at least somewhat run the ball effectively and stop the run. It all starts with the line of scrimmage. That has been a big point of emphasis."


      • One of the new faces on the defensive line, Allen, sounds thrilled to have chosen the Bears over the Seattle Seahawksin free agency. Eleven-year NFL veterans aren’t normally excited about organized team activities and minicamp, but Allen seemed to be the exception to the rule when he raved about his Chicago defensive teammates following Wednesday’s session.
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        Allen"You get to know guys throughout the league and gain respect through playing with each other," Allen said. "Lance Briggs is an Arizona guy. I live in Arizona in the offseason. I’ve been to Pro Bowls with him and hung out with him. He’s just a guy I respect. He wants to win. Same thing with Peanut (Charles Tillman).

        "I can’t remember the last time I played with two Pro Bowl cornerbacks. I had Antoine (Winfield) in Minnesota, but the last time I had two Pro Bowl corners was Patrick Surtain and Ty Law way back in Kansas City. It’s just getting that energy of that, we have a good offense, now imagine if we had a good defense. Playing defense with a lead is a blast. So this is about learning how to communicate with one another and learning how Lance is going to make the call in the huddle; it’s those little minute things that these OTAs are good at getting comfortable with."
  6. BelieveInMonsters

    BelieveInMonsters Veteran

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    I have to say that with the two articles that I posted and the one from the original poster, I have to say that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE Trestman's emphasis on classic, hard nosed, mean, nasty Chicago Bears football.

    It's about time this team got its swagger back.

    As a Bears fan this has me fired up so I can only imagine how these players must feel.
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  7. butkus3595

    butkus3595 Pro-Bowler

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    I can't tell you how much I love how this d-line has come together! The off season additions were just what we needed. We got rid of some guys who may not have bought in and we got some HUNGRY DOGS in there now. From guys who are anxious to prove they still have it, to guys who want to prove they're worth what they got, to guys who want to prove they should have been drafted higher, to guys who want to stay on the team....just awesome!
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  8. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    The D lacked everything last year, thoughness, heart, composure, but mostly it lacked talent.
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  9. Jimmors

    Jimmors The Rhymenoceros Staff Member SuperFan

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    Its all just words until they put it in on the field in a real game.
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