2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Chicago defense showing some wear, tear

    2012-12-07 03:54

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - The Chicago Bears' defense is finding it difficult to close out games and showing signs of some real wear and tear.

Playing without injured linebacker Brian Urlacher and with several other lineup changes, the Bears will have to find a way to turn it around Sunday against a Minnesota Vikings offense that can run opponents into the ground behind Adrian Peterson. A win would also help erase the sting of the 23-17 overtime loss to Seattle at Soldier Field last weekend.

``That locker room, I know a lot of guys left that field pretty (ticked) off and you want another opportunity like that because games like that you shouldn't allow to slip away,'' linebacker Lance Briggs said. ``And we've done that more than once this year. We need to show up in the critical situations.''

The Bears defense has failed on three of the last four attempts when handed an opportunity to close out a game. Tim Tebow also beat them last year in overtime after rallying the Broncos on their final drive of regulation.

With five 30-something players, the conditioning and stamina of the defense has been closely watched. They allowed Seattle to convert eight of 15 third downs, a season's worst 53 percent.

``Third downs are critical in this league, critical,'' Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. ``You've got to get off the field, because our offense does a nice job of controlling the clock. That's something we've been pretty good at through most of the year but that's something we have got to be on top of.''

The Bears have also allowed seven scores in the closing 3 1/2 minutes of the first half.

Staying fresh against Peterson, the NFL's rushing leader, and a Vikings offense that is likely to stress ball control with top wide receiver Percy Harvin now on injured reserve (ankle), isn't likely to be easy. Doing it without Urlacher, and with different players manning four positions on defense will be even more difficult.

Without Urlacher for at least three weeks due to a pulled hamstring, the Bears are moving Nick Roach to the middle linebacker and replacing him on the strongside with free agent acquisition Geno Hayes.

The Bears did not consider moving Briggs from his weakside linebacker spot to the middle because they didn't want to weaken his position while also playing with an inexperienced middle linebacker.

``This is my 10th year and I've never played Mike (middle backer) in my 10 years,'' Briggs said. ``It would be easier for me to play Sam (strong), it would be easier for me to play nickel (back) than it would for me to play Mike. I could play it. All of us could play it because the positions are interchangeable. But I don't want to play it.''

Coach Lovie Smith supports Briggs' stance.

``Will we ever do that? No,'' he said. ``Lance won't be playing `Mike' linebacker unless we have everyone else go down and then we would maybe call on him then, but that's not a part of what we're looking at.''

Hayes was a weakside linebacker in Tampa who has been playing strongside in Chicago. The other changes will likely be Kelvin Hayden moving from nickel back to starting left cornerback for injured NFL interception leader Tim Jennings, who missed a second straight practice with a shoulder injury, and D.J. Moore replacing Hayden at nickel back.

The changes could make it tough for a defense that has been struggling against the run. No one rushed for more than 106 yards against the Bears in the first six games. No one has rushed for less than 114 against them in the last six and Peterson is coming off a 210-yard performance against Green Bay, his sixth straight 100-yard game.

``I'm pretty sure that the main thing that makes their offense tick is Adrian Peterson, so our main goal is to stop him and to force them to try to go to their second option,'' Hayden said.

NOTES: Wide receiver Earl Bennett has been ruled out for Sunday's game due to a concussion. ... Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (knee) and wide receiver Devin Hester (concussion) practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day. ... Running back Michael Bush missed a second straight practice due to a rib injury, but Smith said he expects Bush will be ready to play Sunday.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Richard RodgersJul 1 05:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers could see more playing time in 2015, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Rodgers played 528 snaps, while fellow TE Andrew Quarless played [ More ]

Rob HouslerJun 30 03:13p

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge, Rob Housler and Jim Dray could all end up taking over for TE Jordan Cameron, who is now with the Miami Dolphins. Head coach [ More ]

Sam BradfordJun 29 05:22p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) is expected to be in the final phase of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament once training camp begins. Bradford's second [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJun 29 02:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson appears to have everything it takes to produce in the NFL, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. 'He's got great work ethic, and [ More ]

C.J. SpillerJun 28 09:02p

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller has a perfect skill-set for head coach Sean Payton's system, which relies on getting the ball to players in space, according Chris Wesseling [ More ]

Tony MoeakiJun 25 07:12p

Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Moeaki will compete with TE Jacob Tamme for the Falcons' starting tight end job during training camp. QB Matt Ryan praised both tight ends for [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJun 25 03:52p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's reported weight gain this offseason is being overblown, according to general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman expects Benjamin to be ready to go for training [ More ]

Antoine CasonJun 25 03:03a

Free-agent CB Antoine Cason (foot) will miss the 2015 season due to surgery he underwent on Tuesday, June 23. Cason (Ravens) did not specify what type of surgery he [ More ]

Marvin JonesJun 24 09:13p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) did not play in 2014 due to multiple foot and ankle issues, but he is healthy and was impressive in organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

Keith WenningJun 24 02:43p

Free-agent QB Keith Wenning (Ravens) signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, June 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Pierre GarconJun 24 02:23p

Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon could be featured more often in the passing game this season based on the offseason workouts. Garcon often lined up to the right of [ More ]

Martavis BryantJun 24 01:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers WRs Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant are expected to compete for the No. 2 wide receiver job during training camp. Both players performed well during offseason workouts.

Peyton ManningJun 24 11:53a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was the subject of preliminary trade discussions with the Houston Texans, according to a source. The talks occurred before Manning restructured his deal and [ More ]

Rueben RandleJun 24 10:53a

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle was the best receiver on the field by a wide margin during spring practices, in the opinion of beat writer Jordan Ranaan. Randle [ More ]

Chris IvoryJun 24 10:43a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is listed as the starting running back entering training camp, according to beat writer Rich Cimini's unofficial depth chart. RB Bilal Powell is [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJun 23 10:22a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman enters training camp ahead of RB Tevin Coleman on the depth chart.

Joseph RandleJun 23 10:02a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle appears to be the clear leader at running back, and it's his job to lose in training camp.

Ahmad BradshawJun 22 11:32p

Free-agent RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Colts) has been suspended one game for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. If he signs with a team he must sit out for the first week.

Terrelle PryorJun 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Terrelle Pryor was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns Monday, June 22, according to a source.

Fred DavisJun 19 06:02p

New England Patriots TE Fred Davis was released Friday, June 19.

Dennis PittaJun 19 02:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) was not medically cleared to practice in minicamp as he continues to recover from his second dislocated and fractured hip in as many [ More ]

Isaiah CrowellJun 19 01:22p

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell could be the workhorse back if his ball security improves, according to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

Devonta FreemanJun 19 01:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman will be used in a lot of different ways, including as a receiver, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'I knew Devonta had terrific [ More ]

Chris OgbonnayaJun 19 11:32a

Free-agent RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Giants) announced his retirement Friday, June 19.

John MoffittJun 18 11:02p

Free-agent OG John Moffitt unretired Wednesday, June 17, and cleared waivers Thursday, June 18. He is free to sign with a team of his choosing. The Philadelphia Eagles, Miami [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 09:32p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor is going to give it a shot at playing wide receiver in the NFL. Some teams have already expressed an interest.

Allen RobinsonJun 18 09:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson was described as 'unbelievable' by QB Blake Bortles Thursday, June 18. 'He's definitely a threat now in the red zone. ... He's physical. He [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 05:32p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Terrelle Pryor was waived Thursday, June 18.

Taylor ThompsonJun 18 05:32p

Tennesse Titans TE Taylor Thompson was waived Thursday, June 18.

Matthew MulliganJun 18 04:32p

Free-agent TE Matthew Mulligan (Titans) signed an undisclosed contract with the Buffalo Bills Thursday, June 18.

Carlton MitchellJun 18 04:22p

Free-agent WR Carlton Mitchell (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, June 18. WR Shane Wynn was waived.

Daniel ThomasJun 18 04:12p

Free-agent RB Daniel Thomas (Dolphins) signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears Thursday, June 18. Financial terms were not disclosed.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group