Offensive Struggles Lead to Defense Breaking Down

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Byline: Tom Thayer

Q. Why has the Bears' defense fallen to No. 29 this season?

A. All the sting of this defense was taken out in the first three weeks of the season.

This is a hybrid defense. It's built with a rotating group of athletes that have the mentality of "three-plays-and-out" or "six- plays-and-out." This is not a defense that can be on the field for back-to-back, sustained 10-play drives and perform at the same effectiveness as when they're fast and fresh.

When you go back and look at the start of the season, there was no sustained time of possession by the Bears' offense that resulted in scoring drives. If you look at the time of possession, there's a significant difference.

If your offense doesn't have the ability to have back-to-back, 10-play drives and sustained time of possession that results in a score, you're not going to complement the style of defense that the Bears' defense is built for.

They're in there to play fast, get the ball back and then give it to your offense. Then your offense has to have sustained time of possession because "we come off the bus running the ball." If you're not complemented by that facet, it's going to be very tough for your defense to have success.

Q. So the defense got worn down early in the season?

A. That's my belief. The offense didn't score points, they didn't have sustained time of possession, they didn't have lengthy drives that resulted in scores and kept the defense on the sideline and rested.

Q. Everyone has injuries, but are the numerous injuries, especially on defense, a legitimate reason for the drop-off in performance this season?

A. Injuries have hurt this team because Mike Brown is a key. He's a vocal leader, and people are willing to accept his input from a leadership standpoint.

I think Dusty Dvoracek getting hurt affected these guys because he's a player who brings a lot of enthusiasm. He was really turning the corner despite not playing his rookie season because he had been living in the weight room, putting in a lot of effort into getting stronger, and he's a smart player.

Q. What are the primary reasons for the offense's drop in production this season?

A. You had a lot of players that you needed to develop coming into the season: Greg Olsen, Devin Hester, Mark Bradley, Rashied Davis, even Bernard Berrian. You also needed the development of Cedric Benson and Garrett Wolfe. …