Chicago Bears Defense & Specialists: Projected stats for 2013

Gregory Shamus

A look at how the Chicago Bears' defensive units and specialists project for 2013 coming out of the bye week.

When looking at defensive stats, I thought it would be better to look at position groups on that side of the ball rather than individual stats. Defensive players can and do impact the game without racking up statistics - Darrelle Revis doesn't get many interceptions because opposing quarterbacks tend to throw away from him - but someone, somewhere has to get to the quarterback, defend that pass, make that stop.

Official stats are taken from NFL.com; as with the individual statline projections for the offensive skill players, where used, "Career average" excludes 2013 data.

Overall stats

Tackles Sacks Sfty PDef Ints TD FFum FumR TD
Current 329 9 0 43 10 3 13 8 1
Projected 752 21 98 23 7 30 18 2
2012 733 41 0 115 24 8 26 20 1

The Bears are on pace to have a terrible year as far as sacks are concerned, but then again you already knew that. Turnovers are on a par with last season as are defensive touchdowns (the NFL pointed out after the Giants game that the Bears' 11 defensive scores since the start of the 2012 season is by far the most in the NFL) though, as you'll recall, they started off hot in the first half of last season and then dried up.

Team tackles include both defense and special teams; it's probably safe to assume the latter won't vary too much from year to year. What's more telling is likely to be the distribution of tackles between the position groups, and with that we take a closer look at the...

Defensive line


Tackles
Sacks
Sfty
PDef
Ints
TD
FFum
FumR TD
Current 50 4 0 1 0 0 2 5 0
Projected 114 9 2 5 11
2012 149 38 0 4 0 7 4 0

2012 defensive line stats comprised Julius Peppers, Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, Shea McClellin, Corey Wootton, Israel Idonije, Matt Toeaina and Amobi Okoye. 2013 stats lose Izzy, Toeaina and Okoye, and add Nate Collins, David Bass, and Landon Cohen.

Apart from the lack of sacks, which has been noted by all and sundry, the decline in tackles by the defensive line is quite striking - whether due to teams running less, running better, or some combination thereof.

Linebackers


Tackles
Sacks
Sfty
PDef
Ints
TD
FFum
FumR TD
Current 105 5 0 11 0 3 1 0
Projected 240 11 25 7 2
2012 188 3 0 23 3 3 5 3 0

2012 linebacker stats were compiled from Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, Nick Roach and Geno Hayes; this season it's been Briggs, D.J. Williams, James Anderson, and Jon Bostic.

The linebacker tackle numbers, although slightly inflated by the special teams contributions by Bostic (but then again, Roach and Hayes), point to the opposition getting the ball to at least the second level of the defense more than they did last season. They're also having to provide more of the pass rush, and now will do so with (probably) two rookies in the starting lineup.

Secondary


Tackles
Sacks
Sfty
PDef
Ints
TD
FFum
FumR TD
Current 135 0 0 21 10 3 6 1 0
Projected 306 48 23 7 14 2
2012 280 0 0 65 21 5 11 9 0

The 2012 stats were taken from Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, Major Wright, Chris Conte, Kelvin Hayden and D.J. Moore; the 2013 stats replace Hayden and Moore with Isaiah Frey and Zack Bowman.

A small (<10%) increase in projected total tackles from the team's likely top six defensive backs compared to last season could simply be attributed to ebb and flow; it's their projected 20% drop in passes defended that sticks out.

Kick returner: Devin Hester


Punt Rt
Yds TD Lng Y/Rt K/o Rt
Yds
TD
Lng
Y/Rt APYd
Current 9
120
1
81
13.3
21
615
0
80
29.3
735
Projected 21
274
2

13.0
48
1,406


29.3 1,680
2012 40
331
0
44
8.3
24
621
0
40
25.9
1,200
Career avg 35.1 426.4 1.7 89T 12.1 24.3 581.1
0.7 98T 23.9 1,007.6

Yeah, other players have returned kicks for the Bears. It's allll about the Hester though, especially this season with Eric Weems' returns having been much reduced.

Kicker: Robbie Gould

FG att FGM Lng Blk Pct
Current 13 12 58 0 92.3
Projected 30 27 90.0
2012 25 21 54 2 84.0
Career avg 30.4 26 57 1.25 85.6

NB. Gould missed the final three games of 2012. He's proving pretty consistent, one bad miss aside, in his contract year.

Punter: Adam Podlesh

Punts Yds Net Yds Lng Avg Net Avg Blk OOB Dn In 20 TB FC Ret RetY TD
Current 29 1,264 1,168 65 43.6 40.3 0 5 8 13 1 10 5 76 0
Projected 66 2,889 2,670 43.8 40.5 11 18 30 2 23 11 174
2012 81 3,399 3,195 64 42.0 39.4 0 7 18 34 6 25 25 84 0
Career avg 66.5 2,842.2 2,576.7 76 42.7 38.7 0 5.8 10.2 21.7 3.8 16.5 29.2 168.8 0

I almost left out Podlesh on the basis that nobody was going to care, but I'm glad I decided to do him (Giggity) in the name of completeness... if for no reason other than to verify just how efficient the Tice offense was last season. Having said that, he was called on to punt 89 times in 2011, Martz' second and final year as Bears OC.

NB. I misread his stats and put him down for 7 touchbacks during the bye week.  It was actually 1, and the table has been amended to reflect this.

Long snapper: Patrick Mannelly

Stats for long snappers are nigh impossible to come by but, in the end, there's only one that matters.

Awesomeness
Current Awesome
Projected Awesome
2012 Awesome
Career avg Awesome

Disclaimer: Not an official NFL stat, as far as I can tell.

Is there anything that surprises, or do the stats and/or projections match what you've seen/expect? Let us know in the comments.

Article pic in hi-res.

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