By Wanda Wiedman/ @WandaW63
George Halas coached the Chicago Bears for 40 years, from 1920-1967. Even though those seasons were sporadic on occasions, he won 324 games and six NFL titles. Halas once said that he could the tell the passion of a player by the hardness of their nose and their taste for blood.
That was how he picked his players and expected them to play. Two years after Halas died in 1983, the Bears won their first Super Bowl with Mike Ditka as their head coach. Ditka coached with the same no-nonsense attitude, and built a team with passion.
In 2006 the Chicago Bears made another Super Bowl appearance, this time against the Indianapolis Colts lead by the young Peyton Manning. The quarterback for the Bears was none other than the dual playing action of one Rex Grossman. However, it wasn’t Grossman who took them there.
It was the defense that shined that season. It was Halas who said, “Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.” That was evident with the defense under head coach Lovie Smith. With a defense powered by the likes of Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Hunter Hillenmeyer, Mike Brown, Chris Harris, Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher just to name a few.
These were the men who brought back the Monsters of the Midway. Now it is up to the Bears defensive coach Vic Fangio to put together a defense that can awaken the prolific monsters they once were. If the Bears defense can stay healthy they can do quite a bit of damage.
But let’s face it, it’s getting a little tiresome to hear the phrase, “Well, we lost against the Denver Broncos because it was against the second-and-third teamers”. Uh, those second-and-third teamers may be your backups and must produce better than that! To be a real Chicago Bear there needs to be passion, grit and hard-nosed pillaging.
It is imperative that in order for the Bears to be a competitive team, the defense has to rise up and make big plays. They can’t continue to be owned by Aaron Rodgers year after year. The good news is that last year’s rookie class produced two promising linebackers in first-round draft pick Leonard Floyd and 4th-round draft pick Nick Kwiatkoski.
As it sit’s, it is uncertain as to whether or not Pernell McPhee, or Danny Trevathan will return in beast mode. But if they do, with the help of Jerrell Freeman on board, they should have no problem running over offenses.
One of the ways the Bears can show a resurrected defense is for the defensive backs to mimic Tillman in press coverage and takeaways. He had an eye for plays and made every effort to punch the ball out to force fumbles. This area has been a week spot for the Bears.
However, there have been some flashes of playmaking prowess in Bryce Callahan and Cre’Von LeBlanc. The expectations are high for Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper and Kyle Fuller. Fuller could be traded if he doesn’t flash what he did in his rookie season. But if rookie Eddie Jackson becomes the real deal, look out offenses!
However, none of the above statements can come into play if the front tanks fail to do their duty. Pressuring the quarterback is key. The question is, can Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks, Jaye Howard Jr., Jonathan Bullard and the rest of the core defensive linemen create a wave of pressure to topple Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton and Drew Brees in the first half of the season. It all comes down to the preseason, because by September 2nd, the 90-man roster is cut to 53.
It’s now or never boys, and the city of Chicago wants the “pride and joy of Illinois” to rise and fight again.
Featured image of DL, Pernell McPhee (92) courtesy: Youtube
Follow and chat Bears with me // @WandaW63