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.
One can spend hours dissecting what the Bears need to accomplish in 2015 in order to contend for a postseason berth. One is not writing this column. If the Bears want to challenge for the NFC North they have to do one thing: hit Aaron Rodgers. Hit Aaron Rodgers with an alarming frequency. Make him consistently uncomfortable. Make clear to him that sitting in the pocket and throwing the deep post to Jordy Nelson or sideline go to Randall Cobb comes with the price tag of a painful grimace and the extended hand of an offensive lineman.
Fox and Fangio know this is a transitional season on the defensive side of the ball. Hell, half the defensive roster will basically be on one-year deals. With expectations for 2015 being as low for this franchise as they’ve been in more than a decade, the defensive coaching brain trust should set their sights on disrupting the balance of power in the NFC North by physically disrupting its best player.