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5 Reasons Bears Will Be Better Than You Think: Part III

| July 26th, 2015

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The final installment of Andrew Dannehy’s optimistic training camp preview.

#2 Vic Fangio.

There has been so much talk about the offense, but it doesn’t matter unless the Bears get their defense figured out. Fangio isn’t a miracle worker. He’s also not Mel Tucker. The difference between the two can’t be overstated.

We’ve seen teams take huge jumps in the standings by adding new defensive coordinators. Just last year, the Vikings went from having the worst scoring defense in the league to the 11th-best because of Mike Zimmer. We’ve seen similar results from the likes of Wade Phillips and Dom Capers and Fangio himself helped the 49ers go from middle of the pack to elite.

The Bears secondary is still a disaster — at least Chris Conte is gone — but their front seven should be pretty good. All the talk about changing schemes is stupid. Fangio is a good coach who will find a way to make it work. He did last year in San Francisco when most of his talented players were on the sideline.

They won’t be elite next year, but don’t be surprised if they jump into the top-20, that really should be enough for them to win more games than they lose.

#1 The Relationship Between the Coach & QB.

The Bears have a good coach and a good quarterback. Teams with both almost always end up being good.

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Pernell McPhee Could Provide Flexibility Needed for Bears “Positionless” Defense

| June 2nd, 2015

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During the Miami Heat’s first championship run with Erik Spoelstra and LeBron James, Spoelstra coined the phrase “positionless basketball.” There was no set point guard or center. It was about getting the best five players on the floor and letting them play.

The Bears have the pieces to make something similar work with their front seven.

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Bears Have Defenders To Do Things. Fox & Fangio Must Make Hitting Rodgers One of Them.

| June 1st, 2015

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Jared Allen showed in 2014 he is still more than capable of being an every down 4-3 defensive end (when not battling the effects of a debilitating illness). Willie Young was arguably the entire team’s MVP – providing the pass rush that was sorely lacking the year previous. David Bass continued to display his penchant for making the big play. Christian Jones showed he’s a professional linebacker. Jay Ratliff played a few of the best games a Bears tackle has played in twenty-years. Lamarr Houston was the best run defender and most idiotic celebrater for half the season.

The Bears defense has guys who can do some things. But how those things are utilized by John Fox and Vic Fangio will make or break the Bears defense in 2015.

The key word: aggression.

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New Regime Seems to Like Shea McClellin (But They Just Got Here)

| May 14th, 2015

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Perhaps the most unexpected thing to come from the Bears new regime is the consistent praise of annual disappointment Shea McClellin.

When Vic Fangio was asked about returning players who could contribute, McClellin’s name was the second one to come out of his mouth (after Kyle Fuller, of course). John Fox admitted to liking him come out of college and said he “has a bright future.” These are two old school football men. They have done this before. They have nothing invested in Shea McClellin.

Even though they didn’t pick up his fifth-year option (which would’ve made him one of the highest-paid inside linebackers in the league) the Bears have made it clear that they see McClellin as a piece of their defense, somewhere.

They genuinely seem to like him.

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Catching the Packers Starts With Defense

| April 23rd, 2015

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It was a long time ago that Lovie Smith was introduced as the Bears head coach and stated his first goal was to beat the Packers. Over a decade later, John Fox and Ryan Pace are walking into a similar situation and, if they’re going to catch the Packers, they have to do exactly what Smith did by building their defense.

The common reaction from Bears fans when the NFL schedule was released was that the team was going to start 0-1 and ruin Thanksgiving by losing to the Packers. Such early negativity is a little ridiculous but there’s reason for it. If the Bears are going to change the course of their franchise and undo much of what Phil Emery and Marc Trestman did, it starts with the defense.

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