Chicago Bears: Grades for each unit as they enter the bye week

Chicago Bears - Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Chicago Bears - Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images /
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Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears – Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

Chicago Bears Defense

After the Bears surprisingly cut former All-Pro cornerback Kyle Fuller, it created a hole there. Jaylon Johnson is serving as the top cornerback. He is doing a pretty good job, but the rest of the unit plays well at times but looks very bad at others.

One thing that has helped the secondary is the Bears’ pass rush. The Bears led the league in sacks for most of the season. In Weeks 7 and 8, they registered zero sacks. As a result, they gave up 408 and 467 total yards of offense respectively.

The pass rush helps cover up the deficiencies in the secondary. If the Bears cannot get to the quarterback, the secondary will get burned.

One reason for the drop in sacks is the absence of Khalil Mack. He heard all the whispers about maybe he’s losing a step. While he’s still making Pro Bowls year after year, his sack totals dropped the last couple of seasons. This season, though, he has six.

Mack’s partner, Robert Quinn, is having a resurgent season. In his first season in Chicago last year, he recorded just two sacks. He already has 6.5 this season. Having the two of them pressure opposing quarterbacks has been of great help to the secondary. However, they need to continue to get the job done.

Roquan Smith is on a mission to show the NFL world that he is the premier linebacker in the league. He continues to have big seasons, but it seems that the only people noticing them are only in Chicago.

Last season, Smith had his best season. He recorded a career-high 139 tackles and had 4 sacks, the second-highest of his career. This season, he already has 93, tied for the most in the league. He also has 3 sacks, so his career-high of 5 is also in danger. He is searching for an All-Pro designation and a huge new contract. The best secret in Chicago is now out.

Another key player is Akiem Hicks. When healthy, he wreaks havoc in the opponents’ backfield. The problem is that he seems to be breaking down. He’s missed 14 games in the last 2+ seasons. He’s also missed valuable time during games. Against the Steelers, Hicks missed a lot of snaps down the stretch. Without his presence, the Steelers were able to do what they wanted, and they came away with the victory.

One thing that has hurt the Bears is their defense against the run. They rank 23rd in rushing yards allowed, 19th in rushing touchdowns, and 22nd in rushing yards per carry. That must change in the second half if the Bears have any hope of a good second half.

Grade: D+