Here are a few Bears Essentials to get you started before the Thanksgiving holiday.
-- Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com puts together his weekly Stock Watch, and it seems all too common this season to see defensive end Shea McClellin make the list as a player whose stock is falling. Dickerson writes:
"Almost every member of the Bears' front seven on defense, with the exception of [Corey] Wootton, is a candidate to be mentioned in this space, but McClellin's failures in the run game were the most glaring. Time after time, McClellin crashed down from his defensive end spot only to create massive running lanes for the Rams to bounce the ball back outside and hit the edge. There is nothing wrong with McClellin being aggressive off the snap, but at some point he needs to diagnose the play and figure out where the football is headed. McClellin potentially altered the NFC North landscape with his hit on Aaron Rodgers on Nov. 11, but he doesn't have much to show for his season besides that game."
Can’t say that I disagree with a single word of Dickerson’s assessment. The team simply needs a much more significant contribution from McClellin than what it is getting.
-- Mark Potash runs down all that ails the Chicago Bears, especially on defense.
-- NBC's Cris Collinsworth thinks it’s time for the Bears to revamp their aging defense:
"Not much of a believer that there is some scheme that is the magical elixir that is going to fix everything," Collinsworth said, via CSNChicago.com. "There are not many offenses or defenses that haven’t been seen by this point in the season and careers of some of these coaches. Typically, it's when you go through the major changeover and you knew it was going to happen to this defense eventually. They really relied on a core of 4 older players on the defense."
Interestingly, going into the 2012 season former Bears coach Lovie Smith hoped to start the process of reloading on defense, but the organization’s philosophy had already started to shift to more of a focus on offense. General manager Phil Emery has done a solid job of building up the offense, and he’s already started to put together a foundation for the future on defense with draft picks such as Jon Bostic, Khaseem Greene and Cornelius Washington. He’ll now need to look this offseason for a couple of free agents capable of helping out immediately as impact players. I’d be shocked if Emery doesn’t pull off a surprise or two with additions on defense during free agency.
-- Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Tribune thinks the Bears have become soft on defense, which is something of a slap in the face to the proud tradition of tough defense established by this franchise.