Give Bears general manager Phil Emery credit. While he may not always make the right move — but, really, no GM ever does — he at least recognizes problems and moves quickly to improve them.
When the Bears were offensively challenged and lacking a receiver taller than 4-foot-9, Emery reached out to Miami and acquired Brandon Marshall, fixing the Bears’ long-standing problem of lacking a number one receiver. What was most impressive is he struck quickly on that deal on the first day of free agency in 2012.
Similarly, Emery saw the need to upgrade at tight end and offensive line last year and he quickly struck deals with Martellus Bennett and Jermon Bushrod.
This offseason, it was all about improving one of the worst defenses in the NFL last season, and Emery once again struck like a ninja in the night. The Bears agreed to a deal with defensive end Lamarr Houston, a guy who plays with a mean streak and will change the attitude of the defensive line. The Bears then moved quickly to sign the young and athletic Willie Young, a defensive end formerly of the Detroit Lions. They then cleared up cap room by releasing Julius Peppers, who wasn’t pulling his weight. That move allowed them to land free agent Jared Allen, a pass rushing pro who hasn’t had less than 11 sacks in the last seven years, and nearly broke Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record in 2011 with 22 sacks.
Those additions, combined with the draft selections of defensive tackles Ego Ferguson in the second round and Will Sutton in the third round, as well as the re-signings of Nate Collins and Jeremiah Ratliff, give the Bears one of the deepest defensive line rotations they’ve had in a while. The key to getting after the quarterback is coming at him in waves. If you have a defensive line with depth, you can rotate them in, keep them fresh while the offensive line gets tired, and the quarterback will eventually fall.
While we won’t get the full effect during the preseason, I’d like to see the depth at work.