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Restoring the rush key for Bears’ defense

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Dan Parr
Associate editor

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Posted Dec. 15, 2010 @ 6:35 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

Each Wednesday throughout the season we'll identify one player, coach or area of the team that is most under the microscope. This week, it's the Bears' pass rush.

Some members of the Bears' secondary have received a large share of the blame for the breakdowns during the defense's horrendous first half against the Patriots in Week 14, but the pass rush wasn't as effective as it needed to be, either, and didn't do its teammates in the secondary many favors.

Chicago's cover-2 "D" is going to have more bad days if the defensive line doesn't bounce back. The Bears don't necessarily need to pile up sacks. They just need to force quarterbacks to get rid of the ball quickly and settle for shorter throws before receivers running deep are able to finish off their routes.

Thanks in large part to the addition of DE Julius Peppers, the Bears' D-line has played its role in the cover-2 well, and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has also done a nice job of picking spots in which to blitz.

Tom Brady was sacked three times on Sunday, but he had too much time to throw too often. He was able to read the defense, find holes in coverage and racked up a season-high 369 passing yards.

Brady, of course, is having an MVP-caliber season, but less-talented quarterbacks could also do damage to Chicago if Peppers and Co. don't finish strong and force passes to be delivered quickly from a chaotic Bears-infested backfield. Chicago could dominate on Monday night — and clinch the NFC North with a win and a Packers' loss — if Minnesota's quarterback takes a beating from pass rushers.

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