Defensive Line Clearly Disappointing. Reasons Not So Plain.

The Chicago Tribune‘s Dan Pompei gave out some good grades this week.  But like the rest of us he didn’t have much good to say about the defensive line:

“Grade: 2 [of 10]

“The D-line was almost as bad as the O-line was good. With the exception of one 13-play, fourth-quarter series in which the Bears hit [quarterback Mark) Sanchez four times, they didn’t lay a finger on the Jets quarterback.

“There seemed to be some issues with footing and the Jets were picking up the Bears’ stunts well, but it went beyond that. Julius Peppers didn’t have much more of an impact on the game than Marcus Harrison, who was inactive.

On a related note, this quote from Peppers via Vaughn McClure, also at the Tribune, after the game caught my eye:

“We tried to run stunts, we tried to run games on them, and they did a good job of picking them up.  It was similar to the New England game. When you play against good offensive lines, those games don’t work as well. You have to do different things and adjust. And we didn’t adjust.”

First this sounded to me like a bit of an excuse for lack of performance.  Peppers makes that line go and sometimes he has to do it one-on-one (or more).

Second, some criticism of the coaching staff might be implied here.  I’m not sure what more Peppers thought needed to be done.  The Bears mixed in the blitz.  They didn’t do it as frequently as they might have but I can hardly blame them.  When they did do it they weren’t getting to Sanchez.

Whatever was meant, if Peppers wants more creativity out there I hope he’s letting the coaching staff know what he has in mind.  Based upon what we’ve been reading about Rod Marinelli and “creative control” it sounds like they’ll listen.  As long as he’s pointing to himself first when he’s assigning blame for lack of performance.

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