Ratliff return, Jenkins emergence are good signs for Bears defensive line

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When the Bears announced this offseason the decision to move from a base 4-3 defense to a 3-4, the concern was that the transition would be like trying to jam square pegs into round holes. The Bears simply did not have the right players to fit the new scheme.

So the Bears went out and added pieces like Pernell McPhee, Jarvis Jenkins, and rookie Eddie Goldman, while moving defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton to end and Jared Allen, Willie Young, and Lamarr Houston to outside linebacker.

It was quite a transition and one that figured to take some time.

After two weeks of relative obscurity, the Bears flashed some signs of improvement and encouragement Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

Jenkins picked up two sacks for the Bears, as did McPhee, and the Bears played solid run defense in the first half — if only for a half.

With veteran nose tackle Jeremiah Ratliff — one of the Bears better defenders the past couple seasons and a guy who has experience playing in a 3-4 defense — set to return after his three-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, the Bears have reinforcements on the way.

When you combine Ratliff’s experience with Jenkins’ improvement and the development of the young players like Goldman, Ferguson, and Sutton, there is reason for optimism for the first line of the Bears’ defense.

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