Has Montez Sweat single-handedly transformed the functionality of the Bears defense?

The Chicago Bears Defensive Unit has undergone somewhat of a renaissance in the last few weeks, and a lot of that can be attributed to the blockbuster addition of star pass rusher Montez Sweat.

Detroit Lioins v Chicago Bears
Detroit Lioins v Chicago Bears / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages
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Montez Sweat was traded to the Chicago Bears in return for a 2nd-round pick on Halloween this year, a move that was met with excitement by many, but with a sense of pessimism by others.

Trick or Treat, Chicago Bears fans

Questions were asked about if the Bears had traded for the best Washington pass rusher, or if it was even worth the move due to him not being under contract in the offseason. Well, it didn’t take long for Ryan Poles to reveal his plan to sign Sweat to a monster $98 million contract with a whopping $72 million guaranteed.

Since then, those who dared to doubt the move have been proven wrong.

So far, it’s been a profitable return

Yesterday’s outstanding performance against the Lions saw Montez Sweat take his sack total to double figures for the season, with 3.5 of those sacks coming in his five games with Chicago.

While he has bolstered his own stats, he has had a similarly positive impact on his teammates around him. The defensive line has gradually started to become a real strength on this team, while the turnover bucket has been filling up nicely.

In fact, since the trade was made the Chicago Bears defense now ranks in the top 5 of the entire league in total defense.

Is it all because of Montez Sweat?

The simple answer is that the addition of Montez Sweat has been a catalyst for this defense.

Ryan Poles has added some key defensive players over the last 2 seasons, but while these players have produced flashes, the overall function of the defense just wasn’t there.

The Chicago Bears lacked a credible pass rusher, but the addition of Sweat remedied that deficit.

But if we are all honest, the more complicated answer is that the reason for the upturn in performance has been multi-faceted.  We have to give Matt Eberflus and the coaching team a lot of credit.

Ryan Poles, Matt Eberflus
Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

The Head Coach took over the play-calling on defense in mid-September after defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigned. Since then, the defensive unit has come on leaps and bounds and has made consistent incremental improvements as the season has gone on.

We also have to consider that when building a new defensive unit, it undoubtedly takes time for players and coaches to gel and for everyone to get comfortable in the scheme. Maybe we need more patience as a fanbase. Maybe this also needs to be applied to other areas of the team.

The Chicago Bears next 4 games

Remarkably, the Chicago Bears find themselves in a favorable position heading into the last month of the regular season.

You may or may not believe the hype, but this team has a real chance of finishing the year with a respectable record, and a huge part of any prospective success will be down to the defense.

With games coming up against other questionable teams such as the Browns, Cardinals, and Falcons, it is very difficult to guess how many wins and losses this team will have come January.

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The playoffs? Well, let’s just wait and see.