Bear’s defense is gaining ground: ‘We’re flying right now.’

Asked whether the Bears’ new-found defenses under Matt Eberfluss and Alan Williams had made an impact on him, Khalil Herbert did not hesitate to back down.

“I’ve got a lot of impressions – especially the linebacker group,” Herbert said. “We have some really athletic linebackers — a lot of guys who can cover and hit and downhill and hit. Especially from face-to-face, looking at the different things they do in pass pro. And we’re running out of the backfield and we try to miss them in some drills. We have a really athletic group. Overall I think the defense is going to be really solid.”

It remains to be seen whether Herbert is right (A linebacker corps without Roquan Smith still isn’t a bad sign.) But as the training-camp narrative goes, things like hustle, intensity and aggression, and the right player in The correct position on lay defense is more reliable. The offense depends on precision, timing, chemistry and a quarterback – concepts that are very difficult to establish and a weapon that is very difficult to develop. Crime is more dependent on planning. Defense is playing football.

Linebacker Nick Morrow said, “One thing I’ve come to understand is that in football you can talk to Scheme and it’s fun.” “I have been a part of scheme-heavy defence. [But] Defensively, you have to win with effort. This has been shown time and again. Running for football creates turnover – punching the ball, picking it up, fixing it. I think effort is definitely number 1. He’s definitely putting it on his plate for us. ,

So while the Bears’ offense under coordinator Luke Getsy is likely to be a work-in-progress — and perhaps a bit of a mess — the Bears’ defense could be a dependable anchor from the start, if not the whole, of the 2022 season.

Obviously working against the offense while on the training wheel is a huge advantage in training camp. And Bear Defense, learning a new plan, feels great about itself and the chance to hit the running ground in 2022.

It helps to have two coaches at Aberfluss and Alan Williams who think and teach like coordinators – much like the Bears had Lavi Smith/Rod Marinelli (2009–12) and Vic Fangio/Ed Donatelle (2015–18). was with. Aberfluss and Williams did the same with the Colts in 2018 – taking on a nondescript group, adding a talented second-round rookie in linebacker Shaquille Leonard, and allowing the Colts’ defense to improve from 30th to 10th. . They know how to teach this defense and get quick results.

“Absolutely,” said defensive end Al-Qaidin Muhammad, who played for Aberfaluss with the Colts from 2018-21. “But most importantly, it’s just getting the right people. We have the right people who want to buy into it and do it. Once you’ve got the right people, I think that’s what coaches teach. It is very easy to take it and implement it.”

Safety Eddie Jackson, one of two holdovers from the 2018 defense that led the NFL in defense scoring, can already pay the requirements of building chemistry and seeking a “buy-in” of Aberfluss.

“I think we built up the chemistry early in the OTA, so right now we’re on the fly,” Jackson said. “This year, we didn’t hear a person complaining about anything—not about a day, not about a period, not about how hot it is. We’re still going.

“And I’ve been in a bunch of teams where you have people who don’t complain and just work; And then you have people who complain about everything. you don’t have that type of people [on this defense], It’s helping us because… everybody knows this guy next to me, he’s going to go out and fight the very minutes I’m gonna fight.”

But still, it’s August. The Bears haven’t even played a preseason game yet. The Bears’ early chemistry is promising but not predictive.

“That’s something I struggle with,” Morrow said. “When it’s pre-season, a lot of people are like, ‘Yeah, everything’s good.’ There is no adversity. I’m always on the lookout for adversity and how we respond to it – that’s Murphy’s Law.

“So when it comes to preseason I don’t want to be too much or too little. But I want to see my individual performance and where I am. But watching collectively—it’s really hard to do.”

For his part, Aberfluss called the defense a “work in progress” but didn’t dismiss the quick-fix job comparisons he made with the Colts in 2018.

“Yeah, it’s the same,” he said. “It’s the same thing we did when Rod [Marinelli] Came to us in Dallas. We did it in Indianapolis and now we’re doing it here with the Bears. It takes time and it is a process. But we enjoy it. It’s a fun process to go through.”

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