The Chicago Bears have some major defensive decisions to make this offseason. Once the unit that could be counted on to come up with the critical third down stop, or to come up with a the game changing turn over, has become the weak link on what many considered to be a playoff caliber team. The 2013 Bears defensive, for lack of a better term, was a complete train wreck. A defense that oozed yards by the dozens each and every game coming down the stretch. Before the debate would be “how many yards will the defense hold the opposing running back to,” toward the end of the season, the question more frequently asked was “do you think the defense can hold this running back to under 200 yards.” Yes it started to get that bad for the once proud Bears defense.
Of course there are many variables that come into play when you’re talking about any NFL team, change of coaches, new players, and injuries all play a factor in how each and every team performs during the season. The Bears were not immune to any of those factors this past year, from the loss of future what is sure to be is future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher, to injuries to Pro-Bowl players from 2012: Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs, and Henry Melton, who missed a combined 28 games last season, not to mention the games missed by starting middle linebacker D.J. Williams. With the Bears defense beaten and battered, the 2013 season they surrendered the most yards (6,313), points (478), and rushing yards in franchise history and rushing yards (2,583). That is inexcusable considering this is a team with a deep tradition of having strong defensive play.
All is not lost, and with the end of a new season comes the new hope that GM Phil Emery can figure out what is wrong with this unit and hopefully fix it via signing a key free agent or two, by drafting players that can come in and contribute immediately, and hoping that some of the injured players can come back and play up to the potential that they have shown in the past. Whatever needs to be done it needs to be done relatively quickly, the Bears finally have the offensive weapons to rival Green Bay, and if they are able to put together even a middle-of-the-road type of defensive campaign in 2014, this should be a team that could challenge the Packers for the division and also make a deep run into the playoffs.