Healthy Defense Must Anchor Bears Through the Storm

| December 6th, 2011

Take a look at the injuries that have debilitated the Bears this season. They lost former first-round picks and projected offensive line starters Chris Williams ans Gabe Carimi for the season. They lost their apparently best receiver Earl Bennett for a long stretch after a shot to the ribs. They lost their star quarterback for the regular season on a tackle attempt. They lost their starting tailback, MVP candidate for the same duration after a missed Matt Spaeth block and a direct shot to the knee. At intervals this year they’ve been without Marion Barber, Roy Williams (I know, who cares?) and were forced to play WITH Frank Omiyale.

Notice anything? Every significant injury this team has faced has been on the offensive side of the ball.

Sure you could argue the Bears would prefer Major Wright stay on the field for one complete game and losing DJ Moore hurt. But Wright keeps showing up on game day, making plays, while Corey Graham has not missed a beat filling in for Moore. If you offered LoveRod their current injury report on defense heading into Denver on September 1 they would have been leaping over one another to sign the deal.

This week that healthy defense takes a trip back to the early days of organized football as they meet Tebus of Nazareth and the read-option Broncos circus. The Broncos defense has been brilliant of late and will make road life for Caleb Hanie and the flaccid Bears offense more than difficult. If Lovie Smith expects more than 14 points from his quarterback he expects too much. It is time for Lovie’s pride and joy defense to dominate this antiquated attack. It is time for the defense to live up to the reputations, the contracts, the star power. Because they are all there. Urlacher. Peppers. Briggs. Tillman. If they allow Tebow to move the ball consistently and light up the scoreboard, the Bears had no business being in the postseason to begin with.

The defense has no excuses. None. If they are truly as good as they want us to think they are, they’ll show us Sunday afternoon in Denver. The conversation to this point on Tebow has been about whether this offensive system can be consistently successful at the professional level. The Bears defense has an opportunity Sunday to answer that question resoundingly.