Improved Pass Rush Makes Offenses Predictable, Increases Turnover Opportunities

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

“The Bears’ interceptions have skyrocketed this season. They’ve only had one game this year without one. If you assigned responsibility for this improvement, how much credit would go to the scheme, the pressure up front and the improvement of the individual players, respectively? — @chriscremer5

“The Bears have been very opportunistic on defense this season and that’s been one of the real keys to their success. Their plus-14 turnover differential is tied for best in the league and few statistics are more central to success than the turnover margin on a week-by-week basis… I would attribute the spike to a much improved pass rush. The more disruptive the front seven, the more chances the defensive backs will have. The scheme hasn’t changed. Yes, the defensive backs are catching the ball more when they get chances to this season but the biggest difference has been the improved pass rush.”

There’s no doubt that the addition of Khalil Mack has made a difference in the turnovers. Just the ones he has accounted for directly by causing the quarterback to fumble are significant. But it goes farther than that.

Teams have taken to getting the ball out quickly against the Bears because of the pressure that Mack and the rest of the front seven has been putting on defenses. This has effectively neutralized the pass rush in that there have been fewer sacks but it has also made offenses predictable. Bears defensive backs don’t have to live in constant fear of getting beat deep on a double move because quarterbacks can’t afford to hold the ball. This has allowed players like Eddie Jackson to jump short routes at key times during the game.

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