The Chicago Bears need more from this recent free-agent signing

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The Chicago Bears are not quite disappointed with what they got out of DeMarcus Walker in 2023. However, he went from seven sacks to 3.5, so it is not quite the season that he and Bears fans had in mind.

There are a few differences that led to this, but the question is whether or not the Bears will be able to make the proper adjustments for him to perform better. The first issue is the amount of snaps that he is playing. 

It may sound counter-intuitive but Walker was playing too much last year. While more snaps means more chances, it also means a more worn down player. Walker is great for the spurts of energy and hustle sacks. When he comes in rested against a worn down offensive lineman, he eats. When he goes through a whole game, he struggles. 

Chicago Bears should expect more from DeMarcus Walker in 2024.

Walker played 66.6% of the snaps last year. His career-high before that season was 51.6%, and the year prior, when he had seven sacks, it was 36.5%. The Titans got the most out of Walker by only using him when they needed him. 

More than that, the Titans would shuffle him inside, where he found a lot of his production. Walker played 31.6% of his snaps along the interior defensive line for the Titans, per PFF. That is actually down from his career rates. In the years prior he was at 37.7%, 67.2%, and 67.7% snap rates along the interior. 

The Bears would be smart to limit his snaps and play him along the interior more. The issue with that is that the Bears may not have done enough with the edge rusher group to remedy this. They signed Jacob Martin, drafted Austin Booker and are hoping Dominique Robinson can develop. Still, that is a journeyman veteran, a rookie who fell to day three, and a year three player who did not progress from his first to second season. 

Chicago has needed Walker to play on the edge more than most teams and it is not helping his production. Unfortunately, that may continue for one more year.