The Chicago Bears Defense: Closer To The 3-4 Than You Think

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Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears hold a record of 4-3 headed into the bye week and, despite a winning record, some changes (namely to the defense) need to happen for them to become legitimate playoff contenders.  Boomer posted an article  last week on fixes for the defense that got me thinking about a potential scheme change.  Yes, the Tampa-2 and the traditional 3-4 are vastly different systems that ask largely different things of their players, but the Indianapolis Colts made that switch last year and still have a fair number of players from the old Tampa-2 team on their current roster.  The Bears are also not built exactly like a “traditional” Tampa-2 team.  Julius Peppers, at 6’7″ 287 lbs., is a far cry from traditional Tampa-2 defensive ends such as Simeon Rice or Adewale Ogunleye.  He fit into the Tampa-2 because of his freakish athleticism, but with his size he is a very scheme-versatile player who could find a fit on nearly any team.  There are also various forms of the 3-4, not all of which require traditional 3-4 personnel.  I’m not by any means suggesting that the Bears completely abandon their current defensive strategy mid-season, only that they should work some 3-4 sets into their current scheme to both give opposing offenses something extra to think about and see how much of the current roster would fit if they were to make a permanent change in the near future.  To that end, I’ve broken down the Bears’ roster position by position, complete with current and/or past NFL comparisons, to see if I could field a starting 3-4 defense.

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