8:40 AM CDT, October 8, 2013
After the Bears failed to pressure Drew Brees into an interception in a conference loss at home, defensive end Julius Peppers was asked how to fix the pass rush or change things or make it all better.
Pepper said he didn’t have a lot of time to sit there and explain to the media what goes into rushing the passer, and I’m thinking, apparently, nobody has a lot of time to sit there and explain it to the rest of the defensive linemen, either.
Maybe Peppers could cut down on the time needed by explaining why the Saints acted as if fourth-and-1 against the Bears defensive line was all-you-could-eat.
Or maybe Peppers could explain why he has just one sack this season despite getting a lot of single blocking. That should be considered an opportunity, if not also an insult.
Instead, it seems to be every opponent’s game plan, and when has that ever been the case?
Opposing offensive coordinators used to base each game plan around neutralizing Peppers with multiple blockers. He was double-teamed, if not triple-teamed. Brandon Marshall is treated that way on offense these days. But not Peppers on defense. Only one of those players is still feared, it seems.
And now the demand for Peppers to deliver is greater.
Not only did the Bears lose another defensive tackle to injury, but Nate Collins was the only defensive lineman to sack Drew Brees. So Bears defensive line.
Collins and starting three-technique Henry Melton are out for the season with ACL injuries. Because of Stephen Paea’s toe injury that kept him out against the Saints, the Bears finished Sunday’s loss without their three top defensive tackles.
The Bears’ base Cover-2 defense starts with the three-technique, but the hole there continues to grow. That’s why they brought in three defensive tackles for tryouts-auditions-miracles Monday and signed Christian Tupou.
Corey Wooton tried to fill it, but he’s a defensive end. Someone named Landon Cohen was on the field after being on the street a couple weeks ago. Zach Minter is on the roster, but perhaps the Bears don’t know it.
You know what’s going to happen, don’t you? High risk-high reward is what’s going to happen.
The Bears defensive line has failed to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season. Their best pressure has come when they blitzed. Linebacker, cornerbacks, safeties --- the Bears have blitzed from a lot of different spots and that has produced the best pressure.
It sounds great until you remember that savvy quarterbacks --- and Eli Manning is one of them --- know they have to throw to the blitzer’s spot. That’s the risk because that’s the open area in the defense. Blitzing produces big plays both ways --- turnovers and touchdowns.
Despite what a lot of people thought about Lovie Smith’s tendencies, the Bears blitzed frequently out of their base Cover-2. They just didn’t get there enough.
But now, I imagine that’s the way the Bears will go.
Unless Peppers has another answer.
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