8:55 AM CDT, September 18, 2013
OK, so Julius Peppers was sick. What’s the excuse for the rest of the Bears' defensive line?
Right now, that appears to be the worst unit on the Bears. I mean, it looks like the pass rush is being coordinated by Fox.
I’ve heard that the turf at Soldier Field was sloppy Sunday and the footing was bad, which negated any kind of jump or push the defensive line might’ve tried to get against Minnesota. Yes. Well. Then what’s the excuse from the week before when the field was fine and the pass rush still stunk?
I’ll hang up and listen for Henry Melton’s hummena-hummena-hummena.
I also heard that stopping Adrian Peterson with “population tackling’’ was Priority Nos. 1, 2 and 3.
Yes. Well. That still doesn’t give you a Get Out Of Pass Rushing Free card.
If you stand at the line of scrimmage paralyzed, then you nearly get beaten at home by Christian Ponder, yeesh.
Make all the excuses you want, offer all the reasons you believe, but the Bears' defensive line is an issue. It hasn’t shown up the first two weeks and the Bears are tied for the worst third-down defense. Connect the dots, people.
If the goal is to win the Super Bowl --- and why shouldn’t it be? --- then you can forget it with this bunch performing this way.
The Bears have one sack is each game, which won’t do. But what’s worse is the lack of consistent pressure. Melton, Corey Wooton, Shea McClellin, Stephen Paea and Nate Collins have flashed. But they can’t just flash. They need to seek-and-destroy.
Especially Melton, who is getting paid too much money to make only one decent play in two weeks. A base Cover-2 scheme like the Bears have played for a decade starts with penetration by the under tackle.
But then, every defensive scheme starts with penetration by the tackles to collapse the pocket. The Bears have moved Peppers into the middle of the defensive line on several plays this season, but he didn’t get home, either. Ponder and Andy Dalton looked like they had spa weekends back there.
Ponder, frankly, was outplaying Jay Cutler in the second half Sunday, mostly because he wasn’t making the big mistake. He wasn’t being pressured into making the big mistake. Ponder also converted third down after third down because he had time to find targets. Even a stiff like Ponder can make some plays if you act like it’s a 9-on-7 drill.
This week, though, presents the best chance this season for Bears pass rushers to look like they deserve snaps. The Steelers’ offensive line is ruined. The Steelers have no offensive identity. Jerome Bettis is not walking through that door. Time to population tackle Ben Roethlisberger.
Problem is, this Sunday night matchup pits a massive quarterback who stubbornly refuses to get tackled against a pass rush that stubbornly refuses to tackle quarterbacks. This could be some mess on national television or this could be the game the pass rushers show they’re not a bunch of stiffs.
It’s not just the defensive linemen. The Bears have tried blitzing with linebackers and defensive backs, but only matched continued ineffectiveness with growing desperation.
Interestingly, Lance Briggs, who has been noticeable on many of the blitzes that the Bears shouldn’t need, said one thing he’s certain about is that Cutler’s offense will score if needed, and I’m thinking, that limp defensive line is probably the biggest reason Cutler has been forced to do it each game this season.
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