Chicago Bears Defense & Specialists: Projected stats for 2013 (pt.2)

Jonathan Daniel

How are the Chicago Bears' defensive position groups and specialists doing? We revisit their projected stats for 2013 and see how they look compared to the figures coming out of the bye week.

As with the offense, we looked at the Bears' defensive units' and special teams' projected stats for the season after seven games, during the bye week.  Let's recalculate and see how they're shaping up with three-quarters of the season gone.  All stats are taken from NFL.com and Pro-Football-Reference.

As before, for reference I also included their 2012 stats and (for the specialists) pre-2013 career averages by way of comparison, as well as the projected stats from the bye week, after 7 games.

Overall defensive stats

Tackles Sacks Sfty PDef Ints TD FFum FumR TD
Current 510 24 0 54 15 4 17 16 1
Projected 680
32
72
20
5
23
21
1
Projected (bye week) 752 21 98 23 7 30 18 2
2012 733 41 0 115 24 8 26 20 1

The pass rush has improved since the stagnant mess of the first seven games, but their projected total tackle numbers and number of passes defended have declined by nearly 10% and 20%, respectively.  This could be because the defense has been playing so well that they're getting off the field and haven't had to make so many tackles or defend so many passing attempts, or because they're really not getting it done.  I'll leave you to decide which for yourself.

Defensive line


Tackles
Sacks
Sfty
PDef
Ints
TD
FFum
FumR TD
Current 100 16.5
0 11 2 1 3 5 0
Projected 133
22 15 3 1 4 7
Projected (bye week) 114 9 2 5 11
2012 149 38 0 4 0 7 4 0

The defensive line have stepped up their sack rate since the bye week.  They're still only on course to a little over half the number they racked up last season, but it's a great deal better than what they were producing after 7 games.  Combined with a large increase in passes defended, signs are that the line are impacting the passing game more than they were early in the season.  They've even picked up two interceptions, one of which was returned for six!

They've also been racking up more tackles than in the first seven games, though this may also be a function of teams running the ball more against the Bears.  We'll get a clearer picture if we look at the second and third lines of defense.

Linebackers


Tackles
Sacks
Sfty
PDef
Ints
TD
FFum
FumR TD
Current 167
7
0 13
2
4
0
0
Projected 223
9
17
3 5

Projected (bye week) 240 11 25 7 2
2012 188 3 0 23 3 3 5 3 0

A slight decline in sacks and a larger drop in passes defended may be indicative of the struggles of the unit since Lance Briggs went out with a broken collarbone, though the opportunity to make those plays may also have declined with the defensive line being more effective against the pass.

Tackle rate has dropped slightly, although still on course to be much greater than last season.  What this means will make more sense once we look at the...

Secondary


Tackles
Sacks
Sfty
PDef
Ints
TD
FFum
FumR TD
Current 237 0.5 0 29
11 3 8 1 0
Projected 316
0.5 39
15 4 11 1
Projected (bye week) 306 48 23 7 14 2
2012 280 0 0 65 21 5 11 9 0

Craig Steltz has been added to the position group's tally (he has 10 for the season, most of which came against the Vikings in the last game); the secondary's projected tackles increase only fractionally but their passes defended, forced fumbles, and interceptions rate have declined.  The loss of Charles Tillman won't have helped.

With an overall decrease in number of tackles but the linebackers' numbers dropping, and the D-line's increasing (and the secondary's staying moreorless constant), either the Bears' opponents have had trouble running the ball against our line and have taken to bypassing the linebackers by airing it downfield, or James Anderson and the two rookies, Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene, are struggling.  You decide.

Kick returner: Devin Hester


Punt Rt
Yds TD Lng Y/Rt K/o Rt
Yds
TD
Lng
Y/Rt APYd
Current 15
167
1
81T
11.1
36
1,015
0
80
28.2
1,182
Projected 20
223


11.1
48
1,353

28.2 1,576
Projected (bye week) 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

Hester's been less effective in the punt return game since the bye week, though he did have an apparent score negated by a penalty against the Baltimore Ravens, and his kickoff return projections are much the same.  Can he get that 20th punt/KO return to take him clear of the mark he shares with Deion Sanders before his contract, and possibly career as a Bear, comes to an end?  Four games to go.....

Kicker: Robbie Gould

FG att FGM Lng Blk Pct
Current 24
21
58 0 87.5
Projected 32
28
87.5
Projected (bye week) 30 27 90.0
2012 25 21 54 2 84.0
Career avg 30.4 26 57 1.25 85.6

Even with those two missed field goals against the Vikings last weekend, Robbie Gould's regression to the mean is to a very high mean.  I can't help but wonder if there's a proportion of fans who think that the Bears deliberately put him in position to fail to lower his success rate, and thus his asking price come the offseason?

Punter: Adam Podlesh

Punts Yds Net Yds Lng Avg Net Avg Blk OOB Dn In 20 TB FC Ret RetY TD
Current 55
2,289 2,160 65 41.6 38.6 1 10 12 23 1 20 12 109 0
Projected 73
3,052 2,880 41.8 39.5 1 13
16
31
1
27
16
145
Projected (bye week) 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

Would you believe that was the first blocked punt of Podlesh's career?  Also, I made a mistake in the original stats projections post during the bye week, in which I put him down as having had 7 touchbacks instead of the solitary one he'd actually tallied [Doshi, you were correct to raise your eyebrows].  The Bears have been punting at an increased rate since the bye week, which would correspond with the offense's problems converting their third down chances.

Long snapper: Patrick Mannelly

Awesomeness
Current Awesome
Projected Awesome
Projected (bye week) Awesome
2012 Awesome
Career avg Awesome

Was there ever any doubt?

What are your thoughts?  Are the defensive line's improved stats - and they can only get better with Jeremiah Ratliff in the fold - a cause for hope?

(A happy David Bass scoring his pick 6 in hi-res.)

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