Why Chicago Bears run defense will not improve this season

Chicago Bears (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

When you saw Saquon Barkley on the schedule for the Chicago Bears it was easy to assume that he was going to have a big day. The reality was that heading into the matchup, the best things that Barkley does happen to pair up with the worst things that the Bears do.

The Bears’ run defense is bad, but it is especially bad on the edges. This makes plenty of sense because none of their personnel has been known as a good run defender throughout their career. Barkley is not the grind-it-out between the tackles runner, so while the Chicago Bears’ run defense might be okay up the gut, that did not matter for the home run hitter at running back.

Barkley torched them for 146 yards, and Matt Breida added even more into the mix.

So far this season, the Chicago Bears have seen 69 rushes outside the tackles, which has amounted to 412 yards, while they have faced 65 rushes between the tackles, and that has equaled 267 yards.

The difference is 6 yards per carry compared to 4.1. Barkley actually had a big day between the tackles, and this increased the yards per carry on the inside. Surprisingly enough, the outside the tackles carries do not include quarterback scrambles, so the numbers would be worse.

Dominique Robinson is the edge rusher with the most promise, but he was a victim of the scheme last week. Al-Quadin Muhammad grades out as the best-run defender per PFF, but he has made almost no impact plays behind the line. The Chicago Bears seem to save Trevis Gipson for his pass rush and do not trust him versus the run, and Robert Quinn has never been a run defender of note.

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The Chicago Bears have flirted with moving Robinson inside on pass rush downs, at some point they may have to look to a defensive lineman moving to the edge on run downs. There is nothing else that will fix this, and Dalvin Cook is licking his chops for this weekend.