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One Month From Bears Training Camp...Can I Get A Hut Hut?

With the 2009 Chicago Bears training camp set to open July 31st, almost all of the talk surrounding this past offseason has been the acquisition of QB Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos. If you talk to most Bears fans, it seems that trade alone will guarantee a trip to Super Bowl 44 in Miami and finally put to rest the long history of quarterbacking ineptness that has plagued this storied franchise. After all, the last time the Bears had a QB with a passer rating of 100 or higher was Sid Luckman in 1943. So the Cutler trade means the ring makers can start printing Chicago Bears, Super Bowl 44 Champions, right?

Not so fast Bears fans.

While I was all in favor of the move to bring in Cutler, whom many consider to be a bonified NFL franchise quarterback, that’s not the main area of concern that deserves the focus of all the media hype. All you have to do is take a look at last season, and the aging Bears Defense. The monsters of the midway ranked 21st in overall defense last season, allowing 241.2 passing yards per game to rank them near dead last in the league in that category; a frightening statistic for a team that has become known for its stingy defense especially during the years of offensive futility. A stat like that has me worried for the 2009 campaign since the defensive personnel haven’t changed much in the offseason.

Just take this into consideration; Alex Brown returns to anchor a defensive line, where he led the team with…um...just 6 sacks last year. But never fear. They also have the hard hitting Kevin Payne returning to the secondary where he led the team with…uh...4 picks? That’s it? So, what seems to be the problem? The answer is simple; Pass Rush.

The Bears have always been a traditional 4-3 defense, being only 1 of 2 teams in NFL history to never use a 3-4 (the other being the Redskins for you statistical junkies). If the Bears hope to erase last year’s statistical blemish on defense, they need to get after the quarterback with a more aggressive pass rush style. Are you listening Bob Babich? Hello, is this thing on? Maybe it’s time to shake it up and try a 3-4 to give opposing offenses something extra to think about or game plan for. Think of the confusion of rotating the 4-3 with the 3-4 in the same game. It could potentially be a nightmare for opposing offenses. Nah! Nobody uses the 3-4 anymore. Except, of course, if you include the defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers who were tops in the NFL in overall defense last season. Has your pen run out of ink yet Bob? Come on, try it! You might like it. If you do it well, you might make Bud Wilkinson proud!

That strategy may not cure all the Bears defensive shortcomings, but it certainly can’t hurt to try and may be a recipe for success. A 3-4 defense is a better option than relying on #6 to shoulder the burden of Bears’ fans hopes on his own for the upcoming season.

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