Chicago Bears: sacks
With 10 defensive linemen on the roster, the players know the team typically dresses seven for games.
Maybe it’s not. Either way, the Bears are pleased with the results on the field.
The Bears entered the game Sunday tied for second in the NFL in sacks (8) before tacking on six more on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. Israel Idonije led the Bears with 2.5 sacks. Amobi Okoye, Nick Roach and Stephen Paea tacked on one apiece while defensive end Julius Peppers added another.
Playing opposite Peppers, Idonije experienced somewhat of a down year in 2011 because of health issues. Now fully healthy, Idonije said “it’s nice to be able to make plays.”
Peppers said relentless play is an expectation for the club’s front four and “that’s nothing to be patting anybody on the back about.”
“We should be playing like that,” Peppers said. “We’re going to continue to play like that throughout the season.”
“We need to get pressure on the quarterback,” he said. “If it’s not sacks, then it’s pressure on the quarterback that changes the game. He’s the one that has the ball. He’s going to make decisions a couple of plays later. If he’s hurt, he’s going to make tough decisions.”
"I was one of those people," Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher said Friday.
After two games, the Bears have only registered two sacks -- Peppers and Urlacher -- and six quarterback hits.
"Sometimes they max protect, sometimes they get rid of the ball quick," Urlacher said. " I have a lot of expectations for Julius, so I expect a sack every play, but it's just not feasible. It's not going to to happen, it's not possible to do that.
”But we are making them move their feet and get out of the pocket. You saw [Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony] Romo last week on the run making some bad throws. They are moving their feet. We're not going to get five sacks a game like we want, but as long as we're getting pressure up the middle and getting in their face a little bit, we're happy with that. We did do that last week for the most part."
In reality, the pass rush issues have little to do with Peppers. Because the perennial Pro Bowl defensive end faces a double-team on almost every snap. It's up to the other members of the defensive line to pick up the slack, according to defensive tackle Anthony Adams.
"A lot of teams may chip him, double him or slide towards him," Adams said. "Whenever he's getting doubled, the rest of us have to capitalize off of that. We haven't been doing that, so we need to buckle down and get taken care of."
For his part, Peppers isn't bothered by the early pass rush statistics, but he acknowledged the importance of attacking Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Monday night.
"We just got to rush a little bit better," Peppers said. "It's not really a big deal because we are winning games. As far as the numbers and things like that, it's not as important as getting wins, but we do want to rush a little better. And we will. It's just going to take a little time.
"But it's going to be on our shoulders to try to disrupt Aaron a little bit and try to make him uncomfortable."