As a Bears fan, I can tell you the defense has been frustrating this year. The offense -- as long as Kyle Orton's under center -- has been more productive, despite the fact that the team has sunk enormous resources into their vaunted defense. The production of the guys on Brian Urlacher's side of the ball has been far from their reputation, which was established in Lovie Smith's early tenure. The two biggest scapegoats for this disappointment have been defensive coordinator Bob Babich and franchise figure-head Urlacher.
On Babich, it's really a lazy theory of convenience to blame him. He took over last season for Ron Rivera, who ran the defense for '05-'06 when the unit was elite. Obviously, if the personnel is virtually the same and all of a sudden the team gets worse, it must be his fault, right? I'm not ready to blame Babich for this. First of all, last season the defense was put in all kinds of bad positions due to awful offense ... not to mention they were decimated by injuries. This year, however, the offense has been better than the defense, and the injuries have been limited (though, to be fair, most injuries have come in the secondary, and the defense isn't exactly struggling against the run ... it's all been through the air).
As Urlacher points out, Babich isn't running a different scheme than Rivera was:
''It was actually Lovie's defense,'' Urlacher said. ''But Ron was running it. Ron just had to learn it.''
As he usually does, which is one reason why he's so well-liked, Urlacher took it upon himself to blame himself and the rest of his defensive teammates.
''We're just not consistent,'' Urlacher said. ''We don't make as many big plays, and we give up more than we did back then. They're trying to run, we're just not stopping the pass very well. We've done some things with our techniques that haven't worked. We haven't played 'em like we should, and we've given up some plays."
Fans in Chicago have been complaining about the "outdated" cover-2 scheme all season as part of the reason, specifically how it takes Urlacher out of position to make plays.
''I mean, I won Defensive Player of the Year in this scheme, so I must've been doing something right,'' Urlacher said. ''There are chances for me to make plays. We don't run a lot of cover-2 in this defense. It is our base defense, but we don't do it a whole lot. Just getting myself in more positions to make plays, that's what it comes down to. It has nothing to do with the scheme or the calls.''
Let's hope he jumpstarts himself and his teammates soon, because the defense is going to have to start limiting the opposition's pass yardage, especially if Orton can't make it back soon.
Brian Urlacher Defends Coordinator and Scheme, Says Bears Just Need to Get Better originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Thu, 13 Nov 2008 09:51:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.