Bears have tricks up their sleeve to generate sacks


For the Bears defense to really work, they need to generate pressure on the quarterback with their four down-linemen. That allows the team to leave as many men in coverage as possible, which leaves fewer holes in their zone. But the defense only has six sacks through three games, which puts them tied for 22nd in the league.

“We need more,” said Matt Eberflus on Wednesday. “We need more and, again, it can come from all levels. We need to come from pressure players, safeties, linebackers, nickels, and front. So it’s gotta come from everybody. Certainly we want our four-man rush to get going there and we will get that going, but certainly we need to have some from other spots as well.”

Last week the Bears tried some new things to help generate that pressure. We saw the Bears move defensive ends, like Trevis Gipson and Dominique Robinson, to defensive tackle on some third-and-longs to get more pass rushers on the field at the same time. Alan Williams said Gipson was just “ok” in those scenarios. When asked if he thought Robinson did better in the same spot, Williams instead pointed to the Bears trying to give many guys many opportunities if they see an advantageous matchup on the pass rush.

“If a guy’s practicing well and if a guy’s being productive in practice, it’s an honor to be on that rush team with that group,” Williams said. On third down, you have to earn your spot in there. So if you earn that spot, earn the right to rushー we have four guys, or five guys, or six guys, and it’s a rotation. So guys are clamoring on that third down rush team. It’s one of the four and we mix up where guys go based on what the need is for that ball game.”

The Bears also tried mixing in more blitzes against the Texans, but that didn’t work particularly well either. So, the Bears will keep experimenting to find a solution.

“I would like to think that we have some things in our back pocket that we haven’t shown that may come out at the proper time,” said Williams.

That said, Williams clarified that he isn’t necessarily making his calls to generate more sacks. He takes a more holistic approach to running the defense on gameday.

“We do want more pressure, but we just want to make sure that at the end of the day when we look at the stat sheet that the sacks are timelyー which they wereー and that on third down we’re getting off the football field,” Williams said. “That’s the most important thing. Each week, when we look at ourselves and scout ourselves, we see, ‘Hey, what do we need to improve on?’ and if that’s the case then we’ll do some different things to generate more pressure and some more sacks.

“And I don’t know if there’s such a thing as too many sacks, or too many pressures. There’s no such thing. That’s like a car too fast, or too much money. You can’t have too much or too many. Yeah, so we always want more pressure.”

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