On Mel Tucker, Defensive injurys and QB sacks

It seems after a year in which the Bears put up their worst defensive performance in the history of the leagues charter franchise, everyone is calling for Mel Tuckers head. Off the top of my head it seems that this year was pretty bad for the Bears injury wise, and so a 1st year DC firing seems to be too a simple solution. I got to digging into some stats and fact.

Much has already been said of Tucker's defenses and their league wide ranking of sacks. Sacks is a metric that doesn't necessarily mean a good D or bad D. As an example if a D gets off the field in 3 plays constantly, they may not have very many sacks, while a poor D may need a sack to get off the field or they give up points. I will not try to convince anyone that this metric means more or less.

Tucker has been a defensive coordinator for a total of 6 seasons, 2008 with the Cleveland Browns, 2009-2012 with the Jacksonville Jaguars and this year with the Bears. On average his defenses ranked 23rd in total yards given up, 21st in Points, and 16th in takeaways. In general by league rankings it would seem he is just below average or a C-/D+. However after Tucker was replaced those teams averaged 29th in yards, 25th in points, and 28th in takeaways the following year or a solid F. Seems like Cleveland and Jacksonville had other problems. In addition the Cleveland and Jacksonville offenses ranked an average of 26th in the league, so his mediocre defenses were them teams best unit. I am firmly of the believe that a bad offense makes your defense worse.

As for this year, the Bears had a total of 7 defensive starters miss at least on complete game. The total games missed by starters was 44 (25% of the possible total), and at one time as many as 5 starters were out at a time. This is staggering when compared to other "injury riddled" teams, and I compared this years Packers, Broncos and the Cowboys to get a feel for this in addition to previous Bears teams.

Defensive Starter Games Missed

2013 Bears 44

2013 Cowboys 23

2013 Broncos 22

2013 Packers 21

2011 Bears 13

2012 Bears 10

2010 Bears 6

Total # of Defensive Starters Missing >= 1 Game at any point in the season

2013 Broncos 8

2013 Bears 7

2013 Cowboys 7

2013 Packers 6

2011 Bears 5

2012 Bears 5

2010 Bears 2

Most Defensive Starters Missing during the same Game

2013 Bears 5

2013 Broncos 5

2013 Cowboys 3

2013 Packers 3

2012 Bears 3

2011 Bears 2

2010 Bears 1

One of the things that the previous stats don't show, is that we had significant time missed by the backups who replaced the starters, IE Melton and Paea were hurt, but backup Nate Collins went down for the year and is not included in the list because he is a backup. Most of the Packers injury's this year, for example, were on the offense or special teams.

I understand the "next man up" mentality that you must have in the NFL, but it seems that this is a historic year for Bears injurys. I have not gone through the whole league to compare due to the amount of time it would take. The Broncos have had most of their injury's recently, thus the low number of total starter-games missed compared to those missing a single game or the most starters missing at once.

Anyway, based on this it seems Lovie was pretty fortunate when it came to injury's, and it is hard to say that this year has not been unique. As to whether Tucker should go or stay it is hard to tell either way....

<em>This FanPost was written by a Windy City Gridiron member, and does not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of its staff or community.</em>

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