Bears

Bears defense intent on instilling 'fear' into opponents

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Bears defense intent on instilling 'fear' into opponents

BOURBONNAIS — The Bears committed a lot of money – nearly $38 million over five years, $15 million of it guaranteed – in Pernell McPhee. He was the priority signing of the offseason, viewed as bringing size (280 pounds) and pass rush (7.5 sacks in 2014 despite zero starts) to the Bears’ fledgling 3-4 defense.

They may have gotten even more for their money than just one player.

McPhee, whose NFL career began in Baltimore and the Ravens' intimidation defense led by Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed, represents not only the linchpin in the scheme overhaul, but also a key element in reshaping nothing less than the entire Chicago defensive persona.

[MORE: Bears receivers making impact moves on and off the field]

“That’s what we’re going to do this year: Put fear in other teams’ offenses,” McPhee said matter-of-factly. “When they see us come out there, [we want them to think], ‘Whoa, those guys are playing, everybody flies to the ball, everybody’s being very aggressive.’

“Me and the guys talk, and I’ll be, like, ‘We need to be aggressive. We need to be the attackers, not the ones being attacked.’ That’s our mindset right now and that’s what we’re working towards.”

That’s the mindset the Bears’ defense had before the exits of Lovie Smith and Brian Urlacher, and the injury woes of Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman. One player will not entirely undo the malaise of the past two years, but McPhee is willing to grab the “fear” flag and help rally a defense to it.

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Because more than a few members of the defense are thinking the same thing.

“Last year [stunk]; I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” said linebacker/end Jared Allen. “There’s always circumstances around it, but it is what it is.

“And I’m ready to go out and bust someone’s head open, honestly. That’s the kind of year that I want to have.”

NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

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NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

The great Ricky Bobby once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Talladega Nights hit a little too close to home for the Bears in Week 7.

They came into Sunday at 3-2 at the top of the NFC North. After a 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots, they dropped to the bottom of the division.

The Detroit Lions defeated the Miami Dolphins 32-21 to improve to 3-3, leaving them tied with the Bears in the cellar.

The Minnesota Vikings’ 37-17 victory over the New York Jets jumped them to 4-2-1 overall and first place in the division over the 3-2-1 Green Bay Packers, who were off for their bye week.

The NFC North remains the most tightly contested division in the NFL, the only one with no teams under .500 through seven weeks of the season.

The final standings may not be decided until Week 17, and the Bears have already blown the early season cushion they built for themselves while the Vikings and Packers were struggling.

The divisional action will pick up in November, and Chicago only has a pair of games left to put it all together before back-to-back-to-back games against the Lions, Vikings and Lions again.    

Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

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Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

Matt Forte, Lance Briggs and Alex Brown join Laurence Holmes to break down the Bears 38-31 loss to the Patriots. What happened to the Bears defense over their bye week, and how did the special teams struggle so bad against New England? Plus – the guys debate Mitchell Trubisky’s decision making in the red zone and Matt weighs in on how the Bears should play his former team – the New York Jets – next week.

0:35– Special teams to blame for loss?

4:12– Where did the Bears pass rush go? 

5:27– Bad tackling followed Bears from Miami

7:25– Are the coaches to blame for the defense after the bye?

10:10– Evaluating Mitchell Trubisky’s game

11:55– Agree with Matt Nagy on Mitch’s “mental” game?

13:30– Trubisky’s red zone decision making

17:10– Are the Bears giving away games so Mitch can learn?

18:00– Bears need to run the ball more

21:04– Matt Forte scouts his former team, the New York Jets

Listen to the full podcast here or in the embedded player below.

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