The much-publicized Bears' defense has been the driving force behind the team's 3-2 record to start the season, but the NFL is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league. And with the Raiders physically outplaying Khalil Mack and his defensive running mates in their last game before the bye, naturally, some of the negative attention has shifted to that side of the ball.
Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano is embracing the criticism.
“We’re a good defense,” Pagano said on the Bears Coaches Show on WBBM Newsradio Monday night. “We’ve got really good players, but you’ve got to be consistent. You’ve got to do it week-in and week-out. You’ve got to show up and play week-in and week-out. Take some time to get away from it. Rest. Heal up. We’ve all got to take a good look at ourselves and make sure we look at this tape good and hard.”
One week after stuffing Dalvin Cook and the Vikings rushing attack in Week 4, the Bears allowed rookie Josh Jacobs to run for 123 yards and two touchdowns in a shocking 24-21 loss in London. Chicago's usually dominant defense was, well, dominated.
“We’re not going to make any excuses,” Pagano said. “I know coach (Matt Nagy) isn’t going to make any excuses. It’s the National Football League. I think we all understand what we signed up for. We had a golden opportunity. We let one get away.”
It won't get any easier for the Bears after their bye week. The Saints are up next in Week 7, followed by the Chargers, Eagles, Lions and Rams. Chicago has the most challenging schedule in the NFL over the final 11 games.
The Bears have a chance to get healthy and re-evaluate what's worked well during the week off, and Pagano is confident his group will respond in a big way.
“They’re a gritty bunch. They’re a resilient bunch. They’ll come back. We’ll be back, and we’ll play great football again. They’re determined. They’ll right this ship.”
The loss of Roquan Smith to injured reserve on Monday (torn pec) created an obvious need for the Bears at linebacker on the depth chart.
Fellow starter Danny Trevathan will likely miss Sunday's game against the Packers as he continues to rehab his elbow injury, which leaves little depth behind Nick Kwiatkoski and Kevin Pierre-Louis, the reserves-turned-starters in Week 15.
As a result, Chicago signed former Buccaneers linebacker Devante Bond on Monday.
Bond, 26, was selected by Tampa Bay in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL draft after a strong career at Oklahoma and has six starts on his resume over the last three years. He was released by the Buccaneers on October 19 after being suspended by the NFL for four weeks for violating the league's PED policy.
Bond will slide into a reserve role for the Bears.
Bears wide receiver has had his best stretch of the season recently, collecting at least 5 receptions and a touchdown in each of his last three games. But Robinson is taking the cake as perhaps the Bears MVP off the field too, as his "Within Reach Foundation" just accomplished an awesome goal in providing quite a great experience for a group of underprivileged youths.
Robinson's Within Reach Foundation hosted 25 kids from the Chicago Youth Center and gave the kids an excellent experience that started with an early Christmas shopping spree for each kid. Also as a part of the event, each child received football with Robinson's autograph on it and a $150 gift card to Dick's Sporting Goods.
"A lot of kids don't have things under the Christmas tree... being able to do this for kids is fun," stated Robinson.
The ultimate goal of Robinson's Within Reach Foundation is to positively impact at least 5,000 students by the end of 2020 through their various outreach programs.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.