2013 DRAFT GUIDE
Bears defense starts post-Urlacher era

    2013-04-17 17:17

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - Chicago Bears players and their new coaches are promising not to tamper with what worked in the past on defense.

So while conducting their first minicamp practices this week under coach Marc Trestman and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, only the faces have changed. The defensive scheme looks identical to the same 4-3, cover-2 zone approach they used under Lovie Smith to lead the league in forcing turnovers the past nine years.

``I think that's been the way and the style of defense that we're going to play and have played here,'' Trestman said Wednesday. ``Obviously Mel being here and being a new guy from a defensive standpoint he's going to put his spin on things and his take. He's going to try to use all the positive elements that we have and have a system that's flexible to use this speed, to use the type of players that we've got on the field here.''

Tucker sounded an awful lot like Smith did when asked about the chief aim of his scheme.

``It's all about taking the ball away and getting to the quarterback,'' he said.

Even the way Bears defenders practice looks the same.

Under Smith, defenders started a tradition of scooping up incomplete passes off the ground and returning them to repeatedly simulate returns after turnovers. They're still doing it.

``It made us a successful defense, so why change it?'' free safety Chris Conte said. ``We're going to keep that stuff going. We have mostly the same players. The same mentality is still there. And these coaches are preaching the same thing now that our coaches were before.''

Conte said even the terminology used by players in the defense is staying the same.

``We want them to hit the ground running, and I've been in a lot of different schemes,'' said Tucker, who served as defensive coordinator for Cleveland and Jacksonville. ``A lot of (the challenge) was just terminology, so we're going to take it and try to move it forward down the road.''

What doesn't look the same is the lineup. The face of the franchise since 2000, Brian Urlacher, is gone and former Bronco D.J. Williams is manning his middle linebacker spot while former Carolina linebacker James Anderson is playing the strong side linebacker spot formerly held down by Nick Roach.

Williams had only one start and played in seven games last year due to a violation of the banned substance policy and a DUI conviction.

``He's a guy who has come here to reinvent himself, so to speak,'' Trestman said. ``Maybe that's the wrong term, but you know he's in a new place in a new time and a new start. There's guys on this team that know him and think very highly of him, guys in the locker room that think very highly of him.''

Still, Urlacher had been a leader and the face of the Bears for 13 years.

``It's different,'' defensive end Julius Peppers said. ``But we have got to keep moving forward with the guys that are here. We definitely miss him, but we've got to adjust to it.''

Urlacher's leadership has to be replaced on a defense that has veteran Pro Bowl players like Peppers, cornerback Charles Tillman, linebacker Lance Briggs and cornerback Tim Jennings.

``We have a lot of leaders on the team and we have a lot of guys that are ready and willing to step up and take that role,'' Peppers said.

Urlacher remains unsigned by any team. Bears general manager Phil Emery on Tuesday said he could ``never say never'' regarding anything but he has moved on without Urlacher.

Notes: Return star Devin Hester, who will not be used in the team's offense, is getting more special teams roles. He lined up with coverage teams in addition to performing as a returner, and was taking part in the special team's tackling drills with tackling dummies. ... A day after Trestman said third-year player Gabe Carimi would only be at guard, the backup offensive line used Carimi at right tackle, left guard and right guard.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Duron HarmonApr 15 10:57a

New England Patriots SS Duron Harmon is the leading candidate to take over as the Patriots' top strong safety now that Steve Gregory has been released.

Eli ManningApr 15 10:23a

Former New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said it's 'ludicrous' to think that Giants QB Eli Manning is in decline. 'There's been no deterioration of his arm strength, [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 15 09:33a

The New York Jets are visiting with free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans) Tuesday, April 15.

Will MontgomeryApr 14 11:52p

The Denver Broncos' offseason conditioning program begins Monday, April 21. It's not known whether C Will Montgomery or C Manuel Ramirez will start at center.

Sidney RiceApr 14 11:52p

The Carolina Panthers might show an interest in free-agent WR Sidney Rice (Seahawks), but only at the right price.

Manuel RamirezApr 14 11:52p

The Denver Broncos' offseason conditioning program begins Monday, April 21. It remains unclear whether OT Orlando Franklin, OG Ben Garland or C Manuel Ramirez will be the team's left guard.

Terrell ManningApr 14 05:32p

The San Diego Chargers have released LB Terrell Manning.

Nate IrvingApr 14 05:12p

Denver Broncos LB Nate Irving appears to be the leading candidate to start at middle linebacker at this time, but the team is expected to select a middle linebacker during the 2014 NFL Draft.

Leon HallApr 14 04:12p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Leon Hall (Achilles') has been cleared for all football drills as part of his rehab.

Jamarca SanfordApr 14 04:12p

Minnesota Vikings SS Kurt Coleman will likely be a contributor on special teams this year and enter the year competing with SSs Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo for a backup safety spot.

Dustin KellerApr 14 03:42p

The New England Patriots could show interest in free-agent TE Dustin Keller (Dolphins) at some point this offseason.

Jermichael FinleyApr 14 03:32p

Updating a previous report, the Miami Dolphins have told the agent of free-agent TE Jermichael Finley (neck) that they could be interested in signing Finley if he is cleared [ More ]

Von MillerApr 14 03:32p

Denver Broncos LB Von Miller (knee) said his surgically repaired knee is feeling good and hopes to play better than he did before he suffered his injury. 'I'm a [ More ]

Kurt ColemanApr 14 03:22p

The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms with free-agent SS Kurt Coleman (Eagles). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Sidney RiceApr 14 02:52p

Free-agent WR Sidney Rice (knee) has been cleared to participate in football activities by Dr. James Andrews, according to a source. The Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, New Orleans [ More ]

Chris CulliverApr 14 02:22p

San Francisco 49ers CB Chris Culliver has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor hit-and-run charges and felony possession of brass knuckles. Culliver was arrested March 28 for allegedly hitting a [ More ]

C.J. SpillerApr 14 01:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles tried to land Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller before they traded for RB Darren Sproles this offseason, according to two league sources familiar with the situation. [ More ]

Rashean MathisApr 14 12:52p

The Detroit Lions will re-sign CB Rashean Mathis to an undisclosed one-year deal, according to a league source. Mathis started 13 games last year and recorded 47 tackles.

Chris PressleyApr 14 10:02a

The Cleveland Browns have signed free-agent FB Chris Pressley (Bengals) to an undisclosed deal.

Alex SmithApr 14 02:02a

Draft stock for Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater appears to be falling based on recent workouts, so the Kansas City Chiefs may take a flier on Bridgewater if he is [ More ]

Donald ThomasApr 14 01:52a

The Indianapolis Colts offensive line is still in flux, with several players battling for key spots. OG Donald Thomas (knee), returning from a torn ACL, is expected to man [ More ]

Aldon SmithApr 13 11:42p

Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith was released from a Los Angeles jail Sunday, April 13, after posting $20,000 bail, shortly after being charged with [ More ]

Aldon SmithApr 13 09:22p

Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith was arrested Sunday, April 13, at Los Angeles International Airport after he made a threat that he possessed a [ More ]

Damian WilliamsApr 13 08:48p

Miami Dolphins WR Damian Williams said the team talked to him about the possibility of being a return man for them. Williams likely would be behind RB Marcus Thigpen [ More ]

Aldon SmithApr 13 06:52p

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith was reportedly detained by police at Los Angeles International Airport over the weekend. A man, believed to be Smith, was belligerent in the [ More ]

Eli ManningApr 13 06:32p

The New York Giants are concerned QB Eli Manning is entering the decline stage of his career. The team opted not to extend his deal, which runs through 2015, [ More ]

Jermichael FinleyApr 13 06:32p

The Miami Dolphins have talked to free-agent TE Jermichael Finley (Packers).

Charles GodfreyApr 12 11:32p

The Carolina Panthers want to see how FS Charles Godfrey (Achilles') does in his recovery from an Achilles' tendon injury before deciding on his future with the team. Godfrey [ More ]

Alex MackApr 12 08:22p

Cleveland Browns C Alex Mack said there is no bad blood between him and the team after the team placed the transition tag on him, and he signed an [ More ]

Chad JohnsonApr 12 08:12p

Montreal Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said the team has been talking with free-agent WR Chad Johnson (Patriots) about a contract and will work him out Tuesday, April 15.

Deonte ThompsonApr 12 11:52a

The drug charges against Baltimore Ravens WR Deonte Thompson have been dropped because of insufficient evidence. Thompson was arrested in February for suspicion of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Bobby MassieApr 12 12:02a

Arizona Cardinals OTs Bobby Massie, Nate Potter and Bradley Sowell are expected to compete for the starting right tackle job during training camp.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group