The Bears’ defense will be much improved in year two under the John Fox regime. This is a first article in a series that will focus on particular areas of improvements and how that will translate to the field.
For a defense to be dominant, team speed is critical. John Fox put it bluntly, “this game is about playing fast.”
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There are two aspects to defensive team speed. One relates to the defenses’ ability to recognize the offensive scheme for a given play and proactively counter the scheme. The other relates to physical quickness–the speed in which the defense closes in on the ball carrier.
Teams with defensive speed have the ability to make tackles closer to the line of scrimmage on running plays, limit yards after a catch on passing downs, more tightly cover receivers, and pressure the quarterback. Needless to say, defenses without team speed are typically reactive to the offense and can be exploited by even average quarterbacks.
On assessing the area in need for the most improvement, Bears DC Vic Fangio observed “our team speed up front last year was below average.”
Next: Free Agents