One can understand Bears fans Angst concerning their favorite team to hate the Chicago Bears. The Bears organization hasn’t exactly gained Bears fans trust with a long list of Gaffes throughout the past three decades. However, through all the organizational follies it’s more about the losing that gets Bears fans most upset and frustrated. Not the Dave McGinnis premature hire press conference or the Marc Trestman over Bruce Arians hire. If you’re winning all that is water under the bridge.
All that said, Bears fans should be pleasantly surprised that it appears this regime may actually know what they’re doing. When the Bears went after Stephon Gilmore and lost out on him to the New England Patriots no other signing the Bears made would be good enough to soften Bears fans disappointment. Immediately it was, “The same old Bears, McCakseys are cheap, Ditka’s Mustache could make better decisions than this bunch” and every other tired old untrue stereotype phrases we’ve been hearing for years from our neighbors, family members, callers on sports talk radio and the like.
Don’t look now but the Bears secondary is doing just fine without Mr. Gilmore. In fact, it would be hard to argue against the fact the Bears played the three best Wide Receiver units in the league 3 games in a row to start the season and pretty much shut them down. Let’s also not forget that all three have perfectly capable Quarterbacks throwing them the ball as well.
When the Bear got Marcus Cooper, Prince Amukamara, and Quintin Demps in the off-season you could hear a pin drop from all the non-excitementent. As for Kyle Fuller, nearly every fan and media alike had him on the cut list before the season started. However, along with 4th round rookie Eddie Jackson, this is now one of the best secondaries in football through three weeks.
So far as a unit they’ve only given up 3 Touchdowns against such high-powered passing attacks that feature the likes of wide receiver duos Julio Jones/Muhammed Sanu, Mike Evans/DeSean Jackson, and Antonio Brown/Martavias Bryant with top Quarterbacks Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston, and Ben Roethlisberger throwing them the ball. That ranks them in a 6-way tie for third least touchdowns given up through the air. I would bet no other team ranked highly in this category has played the passing offenses the Bears have faced thus far early on. They’ve also given up the fifth least completion percentage 61.0 against. They rank 20th in total yards at 238 per game allowed which is understandable against those three teams. They also rank 17th in QBR at 94.6 which is a stat I could live without and rather useless in determining actual Quarterback play. The big stat is of course points. Bears have been good there especially considering the competition against.
Individually they’ve been very good too. Through three weeks Fuller has 3 passes defended, 15 tackles, and 0 touchdowns against. Cooper as 3 passes defended, 11 tackles, and 0 touchdowns against. Nickel Corner Bryce Callahan who has had an outstanding year thus far and career with the Bears has 1 passes defended, 6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 0 touchdowns against. Dime corner Cre’Von LeBlanc has 2 tackles and 0 touchdowns against. So far no touchdowns against Bears corners. Safety Quintin Demps has 12 tackles and 0 touchdowns against. He is now on injured reserve with a broken arm so Adrian Amos will now likely be the starter and needs to step up along with Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson. Eddie Jackson has 12 tackles 1 passes defended, and 0 touchdowns against. So far the Bears starting secondary has been charged with no touchdowns against.
The passing game isn’t the only contribution this group makes. They are among the most physical corners in the league and are a big contribution to the run defense the Bears currently rank 8th in the league at. All are good tacklers. However, the one glaring omission is the lack of turnovers. No interceptions and only one forced fumble as a group. That has to change if they want to be known as elite. This Sunday versus Aaron Rodgers doesn’t figure to be their breakout game either as Rodgers is very good at minimizing Interceptions. As a unit, the Bears defense has complemented each other well and are poised to be a top ten unit in 2017, but the secondary is the most pleasant surprise. A testimony to the coaching on that side with that unit in particular. Ed Donatell and Vic Fangio have done an excellent job and Ryan Pace equally as good of a job helping to assemble this talented group. Next step in the groups evolution, “Get some picks!”