It Can't Get Much Worse: Bears Secondary Ranked 30th by Pro Football Focus

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It Can’t Get Much Worse: Bears Secondary Ranked 30th by Pro Football Focus

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears defense has improved slightly since John Fox inherited the mess left behind by former defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, in that the unit is no longer the worst of the worst.

Hooray, improvement!

Unfortunately, the Bears’ pass defense still ranks among the NFL’s worst according to Pro Football Focus’ season-ending grades for 2016. At number 30, the Bears’ unit was ahead of only the Colts and the Eagles.

And what might be most troubling is that this comes two years after allowing opposing quarterbacks to post the second best passer rating and throw the second most touchdowns.

Ouch.

As much as finding a long-term solution at quarterback is important, perhaps the Bears should also try to figure out how to stop the ones they face weekly. Quarterbacks facing the Bears put up a 93.5 rating, the 10th highest allowed by a pass defense, netted the seventh most passing yards (3,598), and were tied for the second fewest interceptions (8). Opposing pass catchers put up the sixth most receiving yards (3,828) and the 11th most touchdowns (22).

These are not encouraging numbers considering the Bears will continue to play in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Teddy Bridgewater – three quarterbacks who have made a Pro Bowl appearance since 2014. (Or, even if Bridgewater is not ready to return to the starting job in 2017 after his severe knee injury, the Vikings have Sam Bradford, who dinked and dunked his way to a record 71.6 percent completion percentage this year.)

The root of the Bears’ problems against quality quarterbacks and big-play making receivers is (and has been) poor secondary play as a collective unit.

Kyle Fuller and Tracy Porter were expected to provide stability and strong play as the team’s starting cornerbacks in 2016. But Fuller missed the entire 2016 season and Porter had his worst season by PFF’s standards – and he played a team-leading 944 snaps. Rookies Deon Bush (4th round, 124th overall) and Deiondre’ Hall (4th round, 127th overall) played sparingly. Hall made no starts and appeared in eight games after a seven-week layoff due to injury. Bush didn’t make a start until week 11, but tallied six total starts in the 11 games he played.

And then we have the safeties, where Adrian Amos has been a serviceable starter, and Harold Jones-Quartey is a rotational piece at best. That particular duo has major strides to make moving forward because this particular stat from The Athletic’s Dan Durkin is very troubling:

If the Bears’ secondary is to improve, the safeties – as the last line of defense – need to play better than this.

The Bears are loaded with cap room and draft picks this offseason. It might be of the utmost importance to make sweeping changes across the secondary in an effort to make the leaps-and-bounds improvements necessary to combat the passing offenses that await on a difficult 2017 schedule.



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.