Chicago Bears Can Look to the Seattle Seahawks for Defensive Blueprint

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Dec 30, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end Shea McClellin (99) during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

I expect we’ll see the Bears do something similar with McClellin.  Trestman and Emery said as much in their presser, talking about McClellin moving to a Sam linebacker position.  They’ll stand him up on first and second down and them move him down to the line, to the Leo position, with his hand on the ground on obvious passing downs.

But let’s back up a second before we go too deep on McClellin.  The Bears will be re-building their defensive line and I would like to hope that they’ll do it by following the Seahawks’ lead.  Get some big, rugged defensive linemen.  They can move away from the one-gap, undersized upfield motor guys.  Drop “700 pounds of ass” into the middle of the line, like Mark Hatley did a decade-plus ago and get some guys who can play a two-gap scheme and keep blockers off their linebackers.  Even if you stay in a 4-3 base, you want to be able to dominate the line of scrimmage.

The other big component of the Seahawks’ defense is their “Legion of Boom” secondary, which is the baddest secondary going today:

Jan 11, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Khiry Robinson (center) is tackled by Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas (29), cornerback Richard Sherman (25), and outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (53) during the first half of the 2013 NFC divisional playoff football game at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated New Orleans 23-15. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Browner, Chancellor, and Sherman share two characteristics in addition to their onetime undesirability as prospects: They’re all tall—Browner is six-foot-four, Chancellor and Sherman are both six-foot-three—and they’re physical. Browner led the league in penalties last year [2011], and his teammates were flagged often too. Seattle was in the top 10 for penalties in all the coverage-related categories (defensive holding, pass interference, illegal contact).

The Bears have already hitched their wagon to Tim Jennings, so unless he grows 5 inches this offseason, he’s not going to fit the Seahawks’ mold, but he’s a tough little SOB who has a nose for the ball and is a willing tackler.  The other three spots in the secondary are wide open, unless you consider Chris Conte as a part of the mix.

The Bears will have opportunities to reshape their defense this offseason and I couldn’t think of a better blueprint to follow than the top defense in the league today.

 

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