The Chicago Bears held a top ten defense throughout the 2017 season. Even for teams with a top ten defense, there is always room for improvement. The Bears were great at attacking the player with the football last season. The team very rarely gave up big plays, this is because their secondary and run defense was phenomenal. The pass rush was good enough to give corners time to make plays on the ball, but could use some work. What else can this defense improve on in order to become a top five defense?
The Bears struggled to create turnovers in the air in 2017. The defense only had eight interceptions last season. Two of those were returned for touchdowns, respectively by the dynamic safety duo of Eddie Jackson and Adrian Amos. Others with interceptions included cornerbacks Bryce Callahan, Kyle Fuller and linebacker Danny Trevathan. Eight interceptions just isn’t enough for a defense to be considered the best of the best. Don’t get me wrong, Chicago still has an outstanding defense. But making more plays on the ball in the air would improve this defense vastly. Not only would it intimidate opposing offenses, it gives the offense far more opportunities to put points on the board.
Chicago’s pass rush could use an improvement as well. Yes they had 42 sacks last season, which was tied for seventh in the league with several other teams, but losing some key players this offseason has hurt the pass rush. Aaron Lynch is going to be looked at as the second primary pass rusher in 2018. Health has been an issue for Lynch in the past, so staying healthy will be his main concern. His play is very suitable for Vic Fangio’s defense, as he played great with him in San Francisco. Speaking of health, pass rushing linebacker Leonard Floyd needs to stay healthy as well. If Floyd goes down again this season, the Bears pass rush is going to be in trouble. That’s just a fact. With a bad pass rush, this could lead to more big plays in the secondary. Giving the opposing quarterback too much time to throw the ball is going to lead to a team’s defense getting shredded in the secondary. Chicago hired a whole new strength and conditioning team this offseason showing they are aware of the teams health issues the last few seasons and addressed a change that needed to be made.
Vic Fangio is highly regarded as one of the top defensive coordinators in the league. Surprisingly, he hasn’t gotten many head coaching looks. Bears fans should be completely okay with that. If anyone in the league can have a team improve on taking the football away, its Fangio. Turnovers will be a main point of focus for Chicago, and expect them to improve even more with the addition of Roquan Smith in the 2018 season. The Monsters of the Midway are back.