Last season most would have agreed, Mel Tucker was a caretaker of the old Bears defense. This season it is all Tuckers defense and on the first day of OTA’s we got a mini preview of what is to come. Yes, it is only the first day of OTA’s and a lot of things can happen between now and training camp.
However, the Bears wasted no time in unveiling what is to come for 2014, and flashed us an interesting wrinkle, so here is a recap of today’s workout.
On the defensive line, it was Allen and Houston anchoring the ends with Ratliff and Paea in the middle. When sub packages were deployed Willie Young entered and Houston either came off or moved inside. At linebacker, DJ Williams was not present so Bostic took over at Mike with the first unit and McClellin was on the strong side. On McClellin, most thought he looked athletic and comfortable in this role. Shea moved to Mike with the second unit and called defensive signals.
When it came to the secondary, Tillman and Jennings were the corners in the base package. Where the real wrinkle came in was when the nickel package was deployed. Most assumed Fuller would be the nickel but instead, Tucker has moved Jennings inside and put Fuller outside. Analyst feel this is a smart move for it allows Jennings to use his physical style of play inside and allows Fuller to maximize his coverage skills and have the sideline as his friend, while assimilating into the pro style of play.
At safety, Ryan Mundy and M.D. Jennings were the starters. It was reported, the Mundy looked and played the part of an experienced strong safety. Not only did he play well against the run, but was quick and fluid in coverage, including deep coverage responsibilities.
It was also noted that reserve corner, Sherrick McManus had a good day with one interception and two defensive breakups.
The only two defensive players not dressed but in attendance were Conte (shoulder) and Steltz (unknown).
Over the weeks to come, as OTA’s go into full swing, we will see what the rookies can do as they find their sea legs in dealing with the speed of the NFL and up tempo practices that Trestman deploys.
Overall, a good first day and will be interesting to see how the “new” wrinkles unfold in what is now Tuckers defense.