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Creativity, Mentoring Gives the Bears League-Leading Pass Rush

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Creativity, Mentoring Gives the Bears League-Leading Pass Rush

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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

You may be soaking in the joy of Sunday's Bears' victory. I can't blame you, but I want to pull you out of that for a second to jump in the wayback machine to April, just before the Bears draft.

Remember how worried we all were about the Bears pass rush? Now come back to the present. The Bears currently lead the league in sacks.

Yes, the Bears pass rush is currently doing a better job taking down passers than after three games. They are holding passers to 203 yards per game and have sacked quarterbacks 14 times. The Bears' defensive weakness against the pass is now their strength.

Part of this can be attributed to the creativity Rod Marinelli has shown in utilizing his players. Instead of keeping his players in the same positions, he moves his players around to keep them fresh and to keep offensive lines guessing. Though Julius Peppers has been one of the best defensive ends in the NFL over the past decade, Marinelli tried Peppers both at tackle and end. With Pep in the middle of the line, he could take on double teams, allowing other players a hole to the quarterback. It also allows the Bears to utilize Shea McClellin's speed.

Another reason behind the strong start is that Peppers is being more than a player on defense. He told NBC Chicago's Peggy Kusinski that he's serving as a mentor to the younger players so they can keep playing at a high level even after the 32-year-old retires.

"It's not anything new. I've always been willing to share any knowledge I have because at some point I'm not going to be around here and it's going to be up to those guys to perform," Peppers said.

With Peppers and Marinelli leading the way, the Bears are in good position to take down many, many more quarterbacks.

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