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NFC North Q&A: Did Bears make enough moves to be considered a top-20 defense?

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Will the Bears have a top-20 defense?

ESPN NFL Insider Dan Graziano talks about the Bears' transition from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4.

Today's question: The Bears were ranked No. 30 in total defense last year in what was a historically bad season that was followed by a total overhaul of the coaching staff and the addition of several new players. Did the Bears make enough offseason moves to be considered a top-20 defense?

Rob Demovsky, Packers: That might not sound like a lofty goal, but it is considering where they’ve ranked recently. The Bears finished 30th in the NFL in total yards allowed for the second year in a row. In fact, the whole idea that the Bears are a defensive football team is really a flawed theory if you look at the past eight years. Only twice in that time have the Bears finished in the top 10 in total defense; they were fifth in 2012 and ninth in 2010. Otherwise, they were 30th twice, 17th twice, 21st and 28th. Pernell McPhee was a nice free-agent pickup, but is he a difference-maker? Defensive tackle Eddie Goldman was a nice pick in the second round, but again, is he a difference- maker? Neither seems like it. Maybe Jared Allen will be reborn in the Bears’ new scheme, and that could help.

Ben Goessling, Vikings: I don’t know that they have enough pieces who fit their new 3-4 scheme to assume anything yet. I like the decision to hire Vic Fangio, whose defenses were in the top 5 in yards allowed each year in San Francisco. But until we see how Fangio makes all the pieces work, I’m skeptical. Lamarr Houston could be a disruptive pass-rusher as an outside linebacker, but will Willie Young fit in that scheme? And is Jared Allen -- who’s become a bit of a one-trick pony -- really going to shift from defensive end at age 33? There’s some potential to fix a poor run defense with some of the bulk the Bears have on the defensive line (Ego Ferguson, Jeremiah Ratliff and rookie Eddie Goldman), but I’ve still got a lot of questions about the rest of the group.

Michael Rothstein, Lions: This is a tough question to answer because of the schematic shift from a 4-3 to a 3-4 this season. Add in the new coaching staff, including veteran coordinator Vic Fangio, and it’ll be a pretty large question until games actually start. Really liked the addition of Pernell McPhee and the Antrel Rolle signing could be underrated since it’ll give some stability to the team’s secondary. If Kyle Fuller takes a strong progressive step in his second season and the Bears can get an adequate pass rush, this team has a chance to make a move into the top 15 or 20 defensively.