With all the changes happening around Halas Hall most of the conversations concerning the Bears have been centered around the offense and the changes Matt Nagy will be making to the offense.
But in all this talk about the offense and the future of Mitch Trubisky in the new system we’re forgetting that in place is still a top-10 defense that is still going to be led by Vic Fangio for the next handful of years.
Fangio has led the defense progressively up the league rankings each year that he has been at the helm and now that he’s back we can only assume that the defense will continue to rise.
With some key free agents like Kyle Fuller and a draft class loaded with defensive talent, what is the next move to ensure the Bears can continue building an already-formidable unit.
First Order of Business: Re-sign Kyle Fuller
Fuller was one of the top corners in the league in 2017. He finally emerged as the number one corner the Bears envisioned when he was selected as the 14th overall pick in 2014. Under Fangio’s tutelage Fuller led the league in pass breakups last season and became an elite defender in zone coverage and can stick with any receiver in man coverage. Re-signing Fuller should be at the top of the Bears to-do list and having a true top cornerback is the key to any successful defense. The Vikings had two in Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes, the Jaguars had Jalen Ramsey, and the Patriots of course have Malcolm Butler.
Second Order: Find a true pass rusher
Pernell McPhee hasn’t lived up to the 5-year deal given to him and injuries have been a part of that. When signed McPhee was supposed to be a pass-rushing threat that could get to the quarterback and disrupt any backfield. He has not performed and struggled to stay on the field. Leonard Floyd was drafted to be a threat as a pass rusher too, but again injuries have derailed his ability too, despite Floyd showing considerable promise when he is on the field. In their place Akiem Hicks has emerged as a real threat and consistently disrupted opposing backfields. The Bears need a complement to Hicks though, whether through the draft or free agency.
Third Order: Fill in the rest of the secondary
With Fuller emerging as a true corner and with Eddie Jackson coming in as a rookie and being a solid safety in year one that leaves the Bears to fill out the rest of the secondary and continue becoming a force in the league. Prince Amukamara is a free agent and was solid in his one year with the Bears so general manager Ryan Pace should look into bringing him back. With Jackson in place another safety could be on the docket too.
Ryan Pace has shown that he’s capable of finding quality talent in the back of the draft and free agency has been kind to the Bears recently, so there is no reason to think that the same will not continue to be true. Fangio will surely continue to tweak the defense and try to help them climb the league rankings even further. As this Bears defense continues to grow they will be the rock of this team. Although it is exciting to think about the future of the Bears offense and Mitchell Trubisky, let’s not forget about the defense and how Fangio is shaping this unit to be dominant soon.