Bears

Bears won't change expectations, gameplan if Mack, Quinn out

Bears

After back-to-back excellent weeks, the Bears defense has stumbled a bit lately. There are several valid reasons why. To start, they’ve taken on two of the best offenses and quarterbacks in the league in Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, and Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Further, a rash of injuries and a COVID-19 outbreak have kept some of their best players off the field. The defense was without Robert Quinn and Akiem Hicks in Tampa Bay. Khalil Mack has been hobbled by a foot injury for weeks now.

But the Bears aren’t using any of that as an excuse for their less-than-dominant play.

“As long as we are out on the field, we are out there to not let them score,” said Alec Ogletree. “It doesn't matter who says that or who we are playing against, it's our job to go out there and not let them score, get stops and get our offense back the ball as soon as possible.”

“Our standard’s our standard of how we want to play defense, and we try to hold everybody up to that standard,” said defensive coordinator Sean Desai. “That’s just life in the NFL. There’s always things like that going on. So we just adjust and keep moving forward.”

“The great thing about this game is it's a team sport,” said Ogletree. “You need everybody and that's not just defense.”

Ogletree did concede that “the guys are the guys for a reason,” but also said that moments like this also give younger players on the depth chart an opportunity to make a mark and prove they not only belong in the league, but can play at a high level. That’s how Kindle Vildor earned a starting job this year. Maybe Trevis Gipson or Sam Kamara make equally impressive contributions filling in this Sunday.

 

Regardless, Ogletree reiterated that the success of the defense doesn’t rest on the shoulders of one or two players.

“I think if everybody just kind of goes out there and does their job and doesn't make it bigger than it is, it's still football at the end of the day.”

Fortunately for the Bears, they’ll have the opportunity to get back on track against a 49ers offense that has scuffled lately. They’re dealing with injuries of their own too. Their best offensive player, George Kittle, hasn’t played since Week 4 and isn’t expected to return to the practice field until next week. Second-best offensive player Deebo Samuel surprisingly showed up on Wednesday’s injury report and did not practice due to a calf injury.  Both of their QBs, Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance, are banged up. They’ve averaged only 16.3 points per game over their last three games.

“We’re excited to go back out there and prove ourselves again and play to our standards,” said Ogletree. “Obviously we didn’t (against the Bucs). Nobody had the performance they wanted to have last week due to whatever happened in the game. But this week, we have a good opportunity to go out there and continue to play good ball and put the type of film that we want out there and go out there and make plays like we’ve been doing.”

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