When people criticize the Bears, there’s a long list of items that are typically mentioned: No franchise quarterback, an offensive line that looks more like a sieve than a group of five guys playing together, not running the ball enough, and not having a kicker that coach Nagy can trust from long range. One thing you almost never hear though, is people questioning the Bears’ effort.
But following the Bears’ ugly loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 4, Alex Brown and Lance Briggs suggested it could be a lack of effort that is preventing the Bears defense from playing at an elite level like they did in 2018. To illustrate his point, Brown compared the Bears defense to the Colts defense.
“(The Colts) run to the ball, they get after it. I think they are what the Bears think they are. And (the Bears) aren’t there yet. They don’t run to the ball. If you watch the film, you’ve got eight, nine guys from Indy running to the football, and the Bears don’t have that. You might have three, or four.”
That’s what prompted host David Kaplan to ask Brown if he thought that difference could be simply explained by a difference in effort, or a difference in talent, between the two defenses.
“No damn question, it’s effort,” Brown said. “It does not take any talent to run to the ball.”
But before you go laying all the blame on the players, Briggs suggested that problem trickles from the top down.
“It’s gotta be coached,” Briggs said. “One of the issues now-- and I have watched a lot of other games in the NFL-- is effort. Obviously tackling comes into play, because there are a lot of guys bumping the ball carriers, and the ball carriers are bumping off of them and running 60 more yards. But the effort, there’s such a lack of effort. That’s why it was great to see this Colts defense fly around. I love watching our Bears defense every week. Like I said, our Bears defense you’re going to see four, five guys around the ball. But, it’s such a difference, (the Colts) have nine, sometimes 11 guys around the ball.”
That difference in defensive play may have been the deciding factor in the game, Brown argues. Not, the Bears ineptitude on offense. Why does he think that? It was a similar story from his playing days with the Bears.
“Going into a game like this, I knew coming in through the week that we had to out-play them. We had to out-play their defense,” Brown said. “They had a takeaway, we had none. They stopped our rush offense, they only gave up 28 yards rushing, we allowed more than that.
“It is almost a competition against the other quality defense. That’s the way they should look at it if they want to be special.”
Will the Bears defense look inward after they only sacked Phillip Rivers once, and couldn’t force a turnover despite the fact that Rivers had coughed up the ball four times before Sunday? We won’t have to wait long to find out. They get another chance this Thursday against Tom Brady, who’s turned the ball over four times in four weeks himself.