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shaneo69
11-04-2005, 09:16 PM
Twenty years later, another scary Bears D
Nov. 2, 2005
By Pete Prisco

Twenty years ago, when the Chicago Bears were shuffling their way to a Super Bowl victory, their defense was filled with stars, names we all knew, players we could break down:

Mike Singletary, Richard Dent, Otis Wilson, Wilbur Marshall, Dan Hampton and The Fridge.

It was as nasty a group as the league has seen, its fear factor as good as it gets.

Fast forward to this season. The Bears are once again playing a brand of nasty, in-your-face defense that has them 4-3 and atop the NFC North. So how come the average fan would be hard-pressed to name someone other than Brian Urlacher from that defense?

Who in the heck are these guys?

Here's who they are: a group of rising young players who have combined to form a unit that is ranked second in the league in points allowed and is tied with Tampa Bay for fewest touchdowns (seven) given up.

The names Tommie Harris, Alex Brown, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Mike Brown might not be known to many outside the Windy City, but these guys can play.

Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera was a backup linebacker on the 1985 Super Bowl team. So he knows a thing or two about good defense. He isn't ready to compare this year's group with that one -- which is the best of all time in my book -- but he's still excited about what he has seen.

"I think it's too early to compare it to that team," Rivera said. "This group is still trying to figure out what they're all about. They're searching for their own identity. I'm not quite sure they've found it. We've done some good things, but once we find out true identity, I think we'll be even better."

The defense has the Bears in first place this late in the season for just the second time in the past 10 years.

Cue the Super Bowl Shuffle.

Not quite, but they've ripped off three consecutive victories, including a division sweep of the Detroit Lions, to take over the top spot in the weak NFC North.

Much like 1985, they are winning with defense, a running game and a strong-armed quarterback who plays with attitude.

The Bears, with rookie quarterback Kyle Orton starting for injured Rex Grossman, are 27th in total offense, but they're 12th in rushing as they lean on a ball-control offense.

The reason they do so is because coach Lovie Smith knows he has a defense that can keep the other team's offense in check.

Rivera, a rising talent who could be on his way to being on some team's head-coach wish lists next January, is from the Buddy Ryan school. Ryan, the builder of those great Bears defenses in the 1980s, was a big believer in pressure defense. Attacking was a way of life.

It's the same for these Bears.

"We want to get after the quarterback," Rivera said. "We're not afraid to get after him."

Rivera has a fast front seven that helps make it all work. Inside he has three young tackles who are continually getting better: Harris and Ian Scott, the two starters, and Tank Johnson in reserve. He has Adewale Ogunleye and Alex Brown coming off the edge.

Harris is the star of the front; out of Oklahoma, he's having a good second season. He has two sacks and has been disruptive inside. Johnson, another second-year player, also has played well with three sacks from the tackle spot.

The sack leader is Urlacher, who has six on a variety of blitzes. Urlacher is having one of his best seasons, which might be dispelling the notion he's one of the league's overrated players.

"I think what he does well suits our scheme," said Rivera, who laughed at the notion that Urlacher was overrated. "We want to attack the gaps with speed and quickness, and he has that. The best thing about him is that he works hard. He's a student of the game. He's a smart player who wants to get better."

In the secondary, Mike Brown is the leader. He's second on the team in tackles behind Uralcher and he packs a punch when he hits. Playing next to rookie Chris Harris, he has to be an even bigger presence to overcome first-year mistakes.

Cornerbacks Tillman and Nathan Vasher give the Bears a quality pair of cover players. It was Tillman's 22-yard interception return for a touchdown in overtime last week that lifted the Bears past the Lions and into first place.

"I think in terms of the talent we had, a lot of it young talent, we thought we could be a good defense," Rivera said. "And I think you'll see us get even better. Our guys are taking to the scheme now. They understand it better. We felt we could be pretty good, in the top three. We feel good about the way we're playing."

So, NFL fans, take note. This might not be the 1985 Bears defense, but it would be wise to get to know these guys. They're good, darn good -- maybe even good enough to win the NFC.

Laugh all you want. Don't say you weren't warned if the hip-hop version of the Super Bowl Shuffle is being played come January in Chi-town.

StcChief
11-04-2005, 09:40 PM
Go Bears at least somebody has a good D in the making.

Dunit35
11-04-2005, 09:40 PM
I hope not.

shaneo69
11-04-2005, 09:42 PM
I hope not.

Yeah, I'd rather have a Marty disciple.

HemiEd
11-04-2005, 09:49 PM
I like this mans deciples:

shaneo69
11-04-2005, 09:55 PM
I like this mans deciples:

Joe Gibbs already has a job.

HemiEd
11-04-2005, 09:57 PM
Joe Gibbs already has a job.


ROFL I think you know who I mean.

Skip Towne
11-04-2005, 09:59 PM
Yeah, I'd rather have a Marty disciple.
Me too. Marty will kick your ass. Like he has us three in a row.

HemiEd
11-04-2005, 10:00 PM
Me too. Marty will kick your ass. Like he has us three in a row.


But if we could only get to play him in the playoffs! :drool:

Skip Towne
11-04-2005, 10:07 PM
But if we could only get to play him in the playoffs! :drool:
I know. Shit just happens to Marty. Remember "The Fumble". Marty didn't fumble, the RB did. He caught heat for kicking the FG that was returned for a TD a couple of weeks ago. How often does that happen? I wouldn't be wishing to meet Marty anywhere if I were the Chiefs. He has a better team than we do.

HemiEd
11-04-2005, 10:12 PM
I know. Shit just happens to Marty. Remember "The Fumble". Marty didn't fumble, the RB did. He caught heat for kicking the FG that was returned for a TD a couple of weeks ago. How often does that happen? I wouldn't be wishing to meet Marty anywhere if I were the Chiefs. He has a better team than we do.

I must admit, San Diego is in a great position talent wise for now and the forseeable future. But, Marty continually puts himself in a position that one play will beat him. Always has, do not see that changing.

Coogs
11-05-2005, 08:05 AM
"I think in terms of the talent we had, a lot of it young talent, we thought we could be a good defense," Rivera said. "And I think you'll see us get even better. Our guys are taking to the scheme now. They understand it better. [b]We felt we could be pretty good, in the top three. We feel good about the way we're playing."

I like back-up LB's as head coaches. I like the toughness they bring to the table. I like his attitude, and he apparently is getting what he expects.... a top defense.

Around here we just hoped for a mediocre defense, and that is pretty much what we got.

I'll take the tough D.... run the ball.... play action pass team any day of the week. Just love watching that type of game.

I hope this guy gets an interview.

Coogs
11-05-2005, 08:09 AM
I must admit, San Diego is in a great position talent wise for now and the forseeable future. But, Marty continually puts himself in a position that one play will beat him. Always has, do not see that changing.

That is really what we have here no too. Usually the offense has to make a first down to seal a 38-35 victory. No first down, lose 42-38. That is pretty much the story of the DV era.

So it is a take your pick sort of thing. Win it with the offense on one play, or win it with the defense on one play. I'm ready for the win it with the defense on one play years again.

shaneo69
11-05-2005, 08:40 AM
I'll take the tough D.... run the ball.... play action pass team any day of the week. Just love watching that type of game.


I agree. There's nothing wrong with a run first/play-action based offense if you run it right. In fact, with the state of our offensive line right now, Saunders needs to adapt and realize he can't run this offense without all-pros on the offensive line. We're back to the 2001 offense when Tait was trying to play LT in this offense. Tait was actually pretty good at LT in 2000 in the play-action offense.

Martz still hasn't figured this out either in St. Louis. His offensive line went to sh*t yet he keeps running his same offense and getting his QB killed.

Gunther has gotten criticism here for only being a good DC when he had great talent, but I think with Roaf out we're going to see how good of an OC Saunders really is. Will he be able to adapt?

Chiefnj
11-05-2005, 08:52 AM
Coaches and assistant coaches really need three years to develop their teams. People are being too hard on Gunther right now. Is it Gunther's fault that the most promising DT went down? That Warfield was suspended the first 4 games? That there is now a slew of injuries to the entire secondary? The defense that Rivera inhereted wasn't nearly as bad as the one that Gunther took over.

When you look at the Bears you see a YOUNG TEAM that was developed through the draft. Is it Gunther's fault that the Chiefs haven't really drafted well on defense? He's turned Mitchell around and seems to be doing a good job with DJ and Allen, so he's doing fairly well with the talent he's been given.

After an absence of playoff victories in a decade it is difficult to be patient, but you can't expect dramatic changes overnight.

Coogs
11-05-2005, 09:22 AM
Coaches and assistant coaches really need three years to develop their teams. People are being too hard on Gunther right now. Is it Gunther's fault that the most promising DT went down? That Warfield was suspended the first 4 games? That there is now a slew of injuries to the entire secondary? The defense that Rivera inhereted wasn't nearly as bad as the one that Gunther took over.

When you look at the Bears you see a YOUNG TEAM that was developed through the draft. Is it Gunther's fault that the Chiefs haven't really drafted well on defense? He's turned Mitchell around and seems to be doing a good job with DJ and Allen, so he's doing fairly well with the talent he's been given.

After an absence of playoff victories in a decade it is difficult to be patient, but you can't expect dramatic changes overnight.

nj,

Just so we are on the same page, I wasn't referring to Gun. It has been reported more and more that DV is going to retire after this season. I was thinking HC candidates here instead of DC's.

I really hope when we do change HC's, we run all of the coaches here now out the door, and start over from scratch. I feel Gun staying as DC under a new HC could undermine a bit of the new HC's power.

I also think we have several of the building blocks for a youth transition in place on both sides of the ball. Especially on the defensive side. And if a new HC could come in a sooth over the bad feelings towards the Chiefs with LJ, the offense could have the key piece to a power running game with play action working real quick too.

Chiefnj
11-05-2005, 09:47 AM
nj,

Just so we are on the same page, I wasn't referring to Gun. It has been reported more and more that DV is going to retire after this season. I was thinking HC candidates here instead of DC's.

I really hope when we do change HC's, we run all of the coaches here now out the door, and start over from scratch. I feel Gun staying as DC under a new HC could undermine a bit of the new HC's power.

I also think we have several of the building blocks for a youth transition in place on both sides of the ball. Especially on the defensive side. And if a new HC could come in a sooth over the bad feelings towards the Chiefs with LJ, the offense could have the key piece to a power running game with play action working real quick too.

I wasn't taking issue with you.

I don't think it matters who the Chiefs hire. After 6 games if the results aren't a complete turnaround people will be calling for their heads.

Saunders has been a demi-god in KC the last several years. He's fielded a top offense that has carried the team the last three years. This year injury, age, a lack of quality players at WR and everyone thinks he sucks, he's lost it, he shouldn't be a head coaching candidate, don't let the door hit him in the ass on the way out.

This in Gunther's second year. In his first year he was stuck with players from another system. Then he loses the most promising lineman and a starting corner and has 5 starters who are either new to the team or playing a new position and people are pissed the defense isn't a top 10 D yet.

Rausch
11-05-2005, 10:28 AM
If the Bears finish with a winning record this year, with an offense that makes the Ravens feel good about themselves, Rivera should get the key to the city...

milkman
11-05-2005, 09:50 PM
I wasn't taking issue with you.

I don't think it matters who the Chiefs hire. After 6 games if the results aren't a complete turnaround people will be calling for their heads.

Saunders has been a demi-god in KC the last several years. He's fielded a top offense that has carried the team the last three years. This year injury, age, a lack of quality players at WR and everyone thinks he sucks, he's lost it, he shouldn't be a head coaching candidate, don't let the door hit him in the ass on the way out.

This in Gunther's second year. In his first year he was stuck with players from another system. Then he loses the most promising lineman and a starting corner and has 5 starters who are either new to the team or playing a new position and people are pissed the defense isn't a top 10 D yet.

The problem lies in the fact that he hasn't adjusted to the fact that the O-Line is old and injured.
He's still calling plays that worked because of the strength odf that line.

If the Chiefs hope to make a playoff push, and to make any noise in the playoffs if they get there, he needs to make adjustments, now.

Frankie
11-06-2005, 12:34 AM
ROFL I think you know who I mean.
I do, and I agree.

beavis
11-06-2005, 01:36 AM
I know. Shit just happens to Marty. Remember "The Fumble". Marty didn't fumble, the RB did. He caught heat for kicking the FG that was returned for a TD a couple of weeks ago. How often does that happen? I wouldn't be wishing to meet Marty anywhere if I were the Chiefs. He has a better team than we do.
Everybody knows Marty can't win in the playoffs, but he's still a lot better than the vagina that's coaching our team now.

htismaqe
11-06-2005, 04:39 AM
I wasn't taking issue with you.

I don't think it matters who the Chiefs hire. After 6 games if the results aren't a complete turnaround people will be calling for their heads.

Saunders has been a demi-god in KC the last several years. He's fielded a top offense that has carried the team the last three years. This year injury, age, a lack of quality players at WR and everyone thinks he sucks, he's lost it, he shouldn't be a head coaching candidate, don't let the door hit him in the ass on the way out.

This in Gunther's second year. In his first year he was stuck with players from another system. Then he loses the most promising lineman and a starting corner and has 5 starters who are either new to the team or playing a new position and people are pissed the defense isn't a top 10 D yet.

FWIW, I'm one of those people calling out Saunders for his inability to get the job done this year.

But I've also NEVER wanted him as our next HC, even during the peak of 2003.

Chieftain58
11-06-2005, 05:04 AM
When Marty was here, everyone bashed him out of town.

4th and Long
11-06-2005, 05:10 AM
When Marty was here, everyone bashed him out of town.
Marty's infidelity ran him out of town, not the fans.