The Chicago Bears defense believes it’s the best in the NFL. They certainly had the production last season to prove it. The fewest points allowed in the league (283). The most interceptions (27) and second-most sacks (50). Not to mention the most defensive touchdowns (6). It was a tremendous group. Yet the scariest part is they were only scratching the surface of what they could be. So many of their key pieces weren’t even at full speed.
Khalil Mack didn’t have a training camp to get ready for the season. Neither did Roquan Smith who was also a rookie. Bilal Nichols was a rookie as well. Leonard Floyd played the first half of the season with a broken hand. Some will argue the loss of Vic Fangio as their defensive coordinator is big. While there’s no question the man is one of the best in the league, his replacement Chuck Pagano is a proven commodity in his own right.
Some believe the additions of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Buster Skrine actually improve the overall talent. Clinton-Dix due to his ballhawk skills over Adrian Amos and Skrine due to his durability over Bryce Callahan. The question is does the wider NFL believe they’re still that good? NFL Network’s Peter Schrager had to make a choice for the best defense in the league this season.
He remained steadfast with Chicago.
Chicago Bears defense have one concern and that’s depth
In terms of the starting lineup, the Bears are more than secure. They have three All-Pros in Mack, Eddie Jackson, and Kyle Fuller. Two current or former Pro Bowlers in Clinton-Dix and Akiem Hicks. Ascending studs like Nichols, Smith, and Eddie Goldman. Last but not least some solid veterans in Skrine, Prince Amukamara, and Danny Trevathan. It’s an excellent blend of experience and youthful talent. All of it boosted by intelligence, camaraderie, and self-confidence.
The one weakness that can be found with this defense? It’s depth. There are some areas of the roster where there is a genuine concern. Probably the two most concerning are inside and outside linebacker. Nick Kwiatkoski is a savvy veteran with some starting experience but he is a liability in coverage. Joel Iyiegbuniwe has athletic upside but still suffers from mental mistakes.
On the outside the health concerns with Floyd are well-documented. The same goes for primary backup Aaron Lynch. After that, it’s a collection of unprovens (Isaiah Irving and Kylie Fitts) and rookies (Mathieu Betts and Chuck Harris). If injuries strike either of those positions, the Bears will be in trouble. It will be interesting to see if they make some tweaks to the roster before opening night.