Ten Questions Facing the Chicago Bears in 2015

9 of 11

December 28, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi

How will the defense perform in the new 3-4?

After more than a decade of Lovie-ball, the Bears are finally updating their defense to the current fad of attacking 3-4 schemes, and they have the best man in the business to teach them, Vic Fangio.

While Fangio should eventually lead the Bears defense back to the top of the league, the smart money’s on the defense struggling again in 2015 as Fangio tries to fit 4-3 players into his scheme. The team didn’t collect enough players, particularly along the defensive line, for the new 3-4 to be anything better than mediocre this season.

Even a mediocre defense, though, would be an improvement, and the team may be fortunate if they identify some players, particularly at inside linebacker and along the defensive line, that they can build around in upcoming seasons.

Dec 15, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller (23) before their game against the New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

With the uncertainty at those two positions, though, I’m expecting them to struggle against the run, but there’s a chance – a good chance – they improve against the pass. Adding Pernell McPhee should boost the pass rush, and limiting Jared Allen’s snaps should save him some wear and tear, boosting his effectiveness when he enters on pass rushing downs.

Meanwhile, Kyle Fuller should improve this season, and the addition of veteran cornerback Alan Ball should allow Tim Jennings to bump inside to nickleback, where his size shouldn’t be as much of a problem. Signing safety Antrel Rolle is another boost, as the Bears were finally able to shed themselves of Chris Conte.

On the whole, the Bears defense is still going to struggle this season as the players learn a new system and new positions. But if they can finish in the top 20 against the run – they were 17th last year – and against the pass (a taller order, as they were 30th), that would be a marked improvement for the coaching staff to build on as they look to further overhaul the defensive roster following this season.

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