The defense of the Chicago Bears is returning fairly intact this year. Gone is Brian Urlacher, but the Urlacher that played in 2012 wasn't the #54 we were all accustomed to seeing. Nick Roach signed with the Oakland Raiders, but I don't expect a drop off from the new strong side outside linebacker. In fact, I think the new LBs will be an upgrade over the 2012 LBs.
They also had some change in the d-line rotation, and that's really about it. Two starters and a few rotational players is all that will be gone from the 2012 defense that finished in the top 5. That is unless you consider losing Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli a big loss. Lovie Smith was the architect of the Chicago version of the Tampa 2, and Rod Marinelli was the play caller.
New defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will be keeping the status quo in Chicago, and the terminology and the scheme will remain. That's not to say he won't add a wrinkle here or there, but for the most part what we've seen is what we'll get.
Just because the scheme remains, that doesn't necessarily mean the play calling will be the same. Rod Marinelli seemed to be locked in at times last year with his calls. Some of that could be on his experienced players executing properly, but Marinelli received a lot of credit as a play caller.
If there's a slip in production from the Dears D, the narrative that we'll see regurgitated all year will be; 'Could Marinelli Have Done Better?'
Mel Tucker will have a lot of pressure on him to keep his players playing at a high level.
Through the Lovie Smith years, the Bears were known as one of the best teams at disguising coverages, Tucker will need to maintain that strength. Tucker will also need to pull from his experience working with both 4-3 and 3-4 fronts, to bring some new looks to the team. I'm not expecting a drastic change, but don't be surprised to see him build off what Marinelli did last season with defensive end Shea McClellin. McClellin is athletic enough to move around at the line of scrimmage, and give a 3-4 look to an offense pre-snap.
Normally I wouldn't have a coach higher than all the players on his unit, because I believe it's ultimately up to the players to execute what ever play the coaches call. In this case, with a brand new regime in place, and them unconventionally keeping the old scheme, they are rolling the dice that Mel Tucker can maintain the Monsters Of The Midway magic.
More from Windy City Gridiron:
- The Bears Den: July 22, 2013 - Offseason news and notes
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- Which Non-Headline Bear Needs to Have a Great Season?
- The Chicago Bears' Most Pivotal Games of 2013
- Matt Forte's Exclusion from the "300 Carry Club" is Warranted
- Chicago Bears fans: Name the WCG podcast contest