How long for Bears' D to adjust?

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Middleguard
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When we first hired Eberflus, TMP gave us this link to an article from 12/18: https://www.pff.com/news/pro-how-the-co ... ber-talent

In a later thread TCK gave us this link from 10/20: https://www.stampedeblue.com/2020/10/2/ ... -2-defense
I paraphrase:
When Defensive Coordinator Matt Eberflus was hired in 2018. He brought the style of defense that almost every mentor he has worked with has run: a base cover two.

For the last two years, fans have bemoaned the cover two defense and it’s “passive” tendencies. The cover two defense does have some areas of weak points, so late in the 2019 season the Colts began experimenting with more cover three. They struggled, but in 2020 they were successful. Why? The "rip/liz match or cover three match buzz."

"In 2018, the Colts simply didn’t have the talent or experience to play this style of defense. Last year they had the talent but throwing a rookie CB in Rock Ya-Sin into a scheme that asks corners to read and diagnose a lot in front of them would have been a recipe for disaster. Now having a cornerback group with stable veterans and a battle tested Ya-Sin, the Colts were finally able to roll out this style of defense."

How far away are the Bears? Next year? Is this why they needed a CB high in the draft?
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The Marshall Plan
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I wouldn't be surprised if the defense was really good this year. Defined as top half of the league.

I say this because:

1) Coach has a history of having high performing defenses without a lot of talent.
2) We've gotten rid of a lot of dead weight on defense. Either players that were injured or declining.
3) The Cover-2, when compared to other defenses, is not a hard defense to learn.

The one thing we lack is our version of Tommie Harris. We need that bad.

I would kick the tires on Suh and see if he's willing to be part of a rotation. Yes, his better days are behind him. But as part of a rotation I'd like to see it. Same thing with Hicks.

The Cover-2 relies upon generating pass rush from the front four. We're going to have problems there. I don't see where the push up the middle comes from and expecting Quinn to duplicate 2021 from the outside isn't realistic.

Angelo and Lovie knew how to build for the Cover-2. It took time but we got people who could get it done up front.

The secondary could be outright scary. I like JJ. Kyler Gordon will develop into a shutdown corner in time. Brisker is a Day One starter and a guy who isn't afraid to tackle. EJax is crap. Let's see if he buys into Coach's HITS system or if he is content to get paid again before we bounce his ass next season.

I think EJax is going to provide a test for Coach. When EJax does one of his disappearing acts and misses a tackle, does Coach have the balls to bench him? If Coach is going to do this whole HITS and max effort thing, he HAS TO bench him in order to maintain credibility. I hope he does bench EJax in that case.

We're a little soft at LB, but I like Roquan as our anchor and leader.

Realistically, the Lovie defenses were an aberration because of the talent that was stacked. Now, Chicken Or The Egg?

Were the Lovie Era players really that talented? Or were they that talented because they played the Cover-2?

Urlacher and Peppers would be HOF'ers anywhere.

But what about the other guys? Briggs, Peanut, Mike Brown, Ogunleye, Idonije, Harris, Holdman, etc.?
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Atkins&Rebel
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I think the defense will have a few games (Cowboys, Packers, Bills), where they look really bad, and a bunch where they look above average (Jets, Giants, Commanders, Texans, Falcons, Lions).
Vikes, Eagles, 49ers, Dolphins are wild card games depending on how they gel and the scheme they settle into.

I think in general we'll be stout but not spectacular against most teams' rushing attack. I don't see many long runs or severe breakdowns in fits for the gaps, but stronger O lines will push us around a little.
Also in general, I think most of the time we'll see guys in position to make plays in the passing game. The problem is, given enough time, I think some of the better QB to WR duos will be able to exploit the deep ball against us. Against these team, I expect to live in a cover 3, which will open up the underneath holes in the zone where we'll be picked apart. The DC will be tempted to either bring pressure or drop a guy into the underneath zones to compensate a little, where the deep ball will again be the risk.

I'm hoping to see the zones masked by asking 1 CB to take his guy in man on certain plays and settle the zone around him. Like 3rd and long, you know who has been getting the ball all game, set Gordan up in off man, play a safety in the middle and over the other CB and rotate the zone as needed by offensive alignment.
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dplank
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TMP I really disagree with you on EJax. I agree he could've played harder last year in particular, but he rebounded after a bad start and seemed to take the criticism to heart - finished strong. He was never known as a great tackler, he's a ball hawk. Pagano really fucked him up IMO, moving him to SS was beyond moronic and had the exact impact on his play anyone could have predicted. Desai didn't get it turned around.

I expect to see EJax flying around making plays this year, and I think he is going to be our best player on defense. Brisker is the tackler, EJax will roam. Safeties with range are so important to this defense. I'm betting he flourishes this year.
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Arkansasbear
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I think the additions of Gordon and Brisket are going to solidify the secondary and we will be a decent (12-15ish) defense.

I'm drinking all the kool-aid right now and have faith that our coaches are great teacher and will have a huge impact on this team.
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Middleguard wrote: Sun May 01, 2022 5:34 pm
How far away are the Bears? Next year? Is this why they needed a CB high in the draft?
Probably 1 year.
That may be their logic, but I don't like it.

If you postpone fixing the secondary another year, you postpone the defense hitting their stride another year.

But neglecting the offense, postpones it by a year instead and risks seriously messing up Fields' development - internal clock, read progression, etc. This takes precedence easily, IMO.
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IE
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It is almost certain that they'll have a few rough outings earlier in the season. By mid-late season I expect them to gel and play well. Tampa 2 can be a top defense in the league. It requires execution and buy-in, as well as a few key pieces. The only serious gaps I see right now are at MLB and 3T (and maybe not there).

In the same way I believe the subtraction of Nagy alone will add several wins to the offense, I believe the subtraction of several big-name-but-effectively-part-time-and-no-longer-great players on defense is going to have a positive impact. I'm excited about the youth movement on D and expect them to be pretty good by mid-season and then end the season strong.
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Middleguard
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So far, no one has commented on the issue I tried to raise when I started this thread. I must not have been clear.

While I believe the Bears will follow the Colts pattern and play a simple Tampa 2 this year, I believe Eberflus intends to transition them toward a cover 3, single high base using rip/liz ideas to cover the seams between zones. It took him from 2018 to 2020 to do this with the Colts.

To quote some more from the 2020 article: "In hindsight, this was always the move for the Colts. This style of cover three has the same emphasis that Eberflus has always had with this team. Stop the run, forces third and long, and eliminate the big play. Only difference is this defense is much more aggressive in what it wants to accomplish."

And, "The biggest takeaway is how cerebral this style of defense is."
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Moriarty
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I did.

It took the Colts 2 years to get there, because they lacked talent in year 1 and experience in year 2.

It might take the Bears 2 also, but I think 1 is more likely - they should have decent enough secondary talent at this point and just need the year of experience.
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dplank
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I'd guess we are pretty good at it this year, and have it down pat in Year 2.
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I'm struggling to see how we stop the run. There's no 3T disruptor, which is a big problem. Goldman certainly wasn't real good, but he was a big body in front of Roquan that drew attention. Put 2 smaller guys in front of whatever no name plays middle and it's going to be problematic. I like the 2 DBs we drafted and that will help some. But by trying to compress to stop the run, that's going to make the pass D more of a challenge, leaving those DBs looking worse than they likely are. Middle of the road defense at best.

As you can infer from the above, I'm convinced Roquan moves to WLB this year. Think about it. You're Roquan in his contract year. Do you want to be Darius Leonard, where you're leveraging your strengths by running all over the place making plays or letting everything come at you with less beef up front than you've had to run interference? No brainer. Roquan needs to move to the weak side.

Edit: After rereading, my post suggests that the bears could be bad, but think their floor is higher than that. 22 maybe. Not horrible. I think more turnovers will help.
Last edited by Mikefive on Tue May 03, 2022 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Yogi da Bear
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Cover Two and Cover Three are both real simplistic defenses. They rely on speed, aggression, and gap integrity. They want to make it so players simply play fast rather than have to think about what they're going to do. Switching between the two is like simply calling two plays on offense. But you have to have the personnel. Most specifically you need that safety as the lynchpin to make that switch. We have that now with Brisker. We also have two very fast linebackers in Smith and Morrow who are great in coverage and run support. Now, of course, there's going to be a wide assortment of NFL wrinkles, but the two basic systems are so simple that they're both installed at the high school level.

With our personnel, I think that we're going to be very effective from the get-go. The only drawback is that while we have a decent 3T in Jones (and maybe others who can sub in), we don't have a great one yet. It's why I wanted Winfrey in the draft so bad. I'm hoping Ogun's health gets to the point that we can sign him again. This is the main position that really drives both defenses. If we sign him, I think we're going to be Top 10 defense from Day 1.
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One player Lovie had that "Flus" lacks is Brian Urlacher and his ability to drop into pass coverage. A 6'4"/258lbs MLB sitting in the middle of the zone daring a QB to throw there is gonna be much harder to reproduce with out current group of LB. Nick Morrow may be able to handle that kind of coverage responsibility since he's more of a hybrid LB/SS but he lacks Urlacher's length.

As far as Ogunjobi goes we seem to have heard it both ways. One says he's been using the Bears facility to workout and rehab but I've not found any confirmation of that. I would think the NFL would require he be under contract to do that and he's not. The other claims that ship has sailed and their are no plans to re-sign him. So I dunno.

If Hicks is still unsigned prior to camp I suppose there's always a possibility of bringing him back on a one year deal if he'll accept that for a price Poles would be willing to pay but based on what we have been willing to pay I'm not counting on it. And it would be the same for a guy like Suh whose been pulling down $8-$9 mil a year on his one year deals.
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The Marshall Plan
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dplank wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 8:08 am TMP I really disagree with you on EJax. I agree he could've played harder last year in particular, but he rebounded after a bad start and seemed to take the criticism to heart - finished strong. He was never known as a great tackler, he's a ball hawk. Pagano really fucked him up IMO, moving him to SS was beyond moronic and had the exact impact on his play anyone could have predicted. Desai didn't get it turned around.

I expect to see EJax flying around making plays this year, and I think he is going to be our best player on defense. Brisker is the tackler, EJax will roam. Safeties with range are so important to this defense. I'm betting he flourishes this year.

I want you to be right and I agree Pagano was a disaster which was a key reason behind The Fall Of McNagy. Meaning, if Pagano was able to hide some of Nagy's shortcomings like Fangio did, who knows?

With EJax I've seen a collapse of fundamentals (tackling).

Now with EJax he's responded to good coaching before. Nick Saban. Then Fangio. The collapse happened during the Pagano / McNagy shitshow.

Hopefully his head is on straight and he buys into Coach's system.
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If Brisker and Gordon can start as rookies and not be liabilities (I really like what I see with both, love super solid DBs over flashy ones) then my only concern is the rush defence and depth. Depth we just have to roll the dice on in this stage of building the roster but rush defence is a big concern. The lack of side at linebacker means we really need our defensive line to step up or the D will break down over games/the season.

Still, I really don't think we'll be bottom feeding and that 12-20 range could be possible unless one of the picks doesn't land at all in year 1 or we get significant injuries.
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TMP - you’re killing me with your sig man - I laugh every single time I see it hahaha
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The Marshall Plan
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dplank wrote: Wed May 04, 2022 7:24 am TMP - you’re killing me with your sig man - I laugh every single time I see it hahaha
LOL I'm here all week!

Try the veal!

The first thing I thought of when I saw Gordon was dammit he looks like's Chappelle's version of Prince.
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On Ogun, from what I understand, he was working out at his former high school which has a "C" identical to the Bear "C."

On EJax, I saw what DP saw: Horrible at the beginning of the year, to much nonchalant hand grabbing, and becoming much more impactful as the year went on.
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I wouldn't be suprised if the D has a quick turnaround. It wasn't to bad last season and with the boost in the secondary they will be fairly formidable group to deal with.
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wab
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The coverages and the assignments will be a little different, but the Bears played an awful lot of 4-3 Under last season, so the transition shouldn't be hard for the guys who are left over.
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It's specifically a simple scheme and there's plenty of talent on D so I expect them to be average right away then end up around #10 in DVOA as the rookies improve over the year and the DC gets better at calling plays for this group.

Currently I'm expecting

10th Best Defense
28th Best Offense
5th Best Special Teams? If the rookie punter is any good?
6-11 record
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wab
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crueltyabc wrote: Thu May 05, 2022 2:34 pm It's specifically a simple scheme and there's plenty of talent on D so I expect them to be average right away then end up around #10 in DVOA as the rookies improve over the year and the DC gets better at calling plays for this group.

Currently I'm expecting

10th Best Defense
28th Best Offense
5th Best Special Teams? If the rookie punter is any good?
6-11 record
I know people are down on the offense. But I'm hoping to see them at around 20. Late teens if I'm being a homer.
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So Justin Fields MVP consideration?
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wab
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I don’t think leading the 20th ranked offense make Fields an MVP candidate…
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wab wrote: Thu May 05, 2022 9:26 pm I don’t think leading the 20th ranked offense make Fields an MVP candidate…
Yep

Just show real signs of growth.

People already are putting in their excuses for him - so even the biggest Fields guys are hedging now
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Middleguard wrote: Sun May 01, 2022 5:34 pm When we first hired Eberflus, TMP gave us this link to an article from 12/18: https://www.pff.com/news/pro-how-the-co ... ber-talent

In a later thread TCK gave us this link from 10/20: https://www.stampedeblue.com/2020/10/2/ ... -2-defense
I paraphrase:
When Defensive Coordinator Matt Eberflus was hired in 2018. He brought the style of defense that almost every mentor he has worked with has run: a base cover two.

For the last two years, fans have bemoaned the cover two defense and it’s “passive” tendencies. The cover two defense does have some areas of weak points, so late in the 2019 season the Colts began experimenting with more cover three. They struggled, but in 2020 they were successful. Why? The "rip/liz match or cover three match buzz."

"In 2018, the Colts simply didn’t have the talent or experience to play this style of defense. Last year they had the talent but throwing a rookie CB in Rock Ya-Sin into a scheme that asks corners to read and diagnose a lot in front of them would have been a recipe for disaster. Now having a cornerback group with stable veterans and a battle tested Ya-Sin, the Colts were finally able to roll out this style of defense."

How far away are the Bears? Next year? Is this why they needed a CB high in the draft?
I think the 2023 offseason should put the Bears defense into prime position to be one of the NFL's youngest and most volatile, barring a complete busting out of Kyler Gordon & Jaquan Brisker. There will be cap room to add a key piece or two, another draft to supply the depth, and hopefully the offense will be mediocre enough to get the job done without turning the ball over a bunch. We shall see.
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RichH55
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How angry are people going to be when we get a Top 5 Pick and take the Georgia DT?
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Recalling 2004, when Lovie brought his 1-gap, upfield scheme to Chicago, we saw more turnovers generated, a couple of games where the pass rush showed up, and several games where the defense was gashed. I think we're going to see some of that in 2022. Coverage wise, there will be rookie mistakes, but I think the DBs will be better coached/more sound than they were a year ago.
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AZ_Bearfan
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I have a feeling the two second rounders will be contributing early and often on defense.

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