Brian Urlacher and the previous coaching regime are gone. But the Bears are confident that their defense will pick up this season under new coordinator Mel Tucker where it left off last year.
“You’ve seen in preseason it’s been a success for us,” said cornerback Tim Jennings. “We didn’t really change a whole lot. Coach Tucker came in and decided he just wanted to play his role and know that what we were doing in the past worked.
“He just implemented his style of defense; kind of mixed it up a little bit but kept the same terminology. We kept the same core of guys. We’re missing Brian and a few defensive pieces, but we added a whole lot of depth and the guys have fit well into what we’re trying to do.”
Keeping the same system and terminology in place has resulted in a very smooth transition.
“It helps a lot,” said defensive end Julius Peppers. “We’re all familiar with it. There wasn’t a learning curve. We all knew what we had to do, and now it’s about going out and doing it.”
It appears that little has changed with the defense, at least in one key aspect of the game. After leading the NFL with 44 takeaways last year, the Bears produced a league-high 14 in the preseason.
“We definitely pride ourselves on takeaways,” said safety Major Wright. “Coach [Jon] Hoke definitely emphasized that when Lovie had left. He put it back in, and coach Tucker, he’s a guy who went with it. It’s going great. Every practice we definitely focus on takeaways. If we don’t get a takeaway, we feel like our day didn’t go right.”
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