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Mel Tucker: No changes to Bears' starting defense this week

11/12/2014

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Although Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman said the staff would take a long look at the depth chart headed into Sunday's game against Minnesota, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said Wednesday the club will face the Vikings with the same set of starters on defense it used during last week's loss to the Green Bay Packers.

"There are always things we can change," Tucker said. "There is nothing set in stone on the lineup. The group we're going to put out there we think will give us the best chance to win this game. I will tell you right now, we plan on going in with the group that started the game [last week]. We are going to go in with the group that started that game, and we need to get them better. They need to play better. We need to coach them better. Everything we do this week is to be able to get that done."

The Bears became the first team since 1923 last week to give up 50-plus points in back-to-back contests with their 55-14 loss to the Packers. Tucker said "being embarrassed at this point is not productive" in the club's preparation efforts for Sunday's matchup with the Vikings, and the truth is the roster features few viable options in terms of potential changes in the starting lineup.

In the loss to the Packers, the Bears experienced several breakdowns and errors in communication, with the most pronounced coming on Aaron Rodgers' 73-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson. Rodgers said after the game the Bears were playing multiple coverages in different areas of the field.

It appeared the Bears were playing three different coverages on the play as Tim Jennings -- apparently playing zone -- passed off Nelson to a safety that wasn't there on one side of the field. On the other side of the field, cornerback Kyle Fuller was playing man coverage, while Brock Vereen stood in the deep middle of the field in what appeared to be a single-high safety look.

"When we start talking about individual guys on individual plays, I don't go there because I'm not a guy that's going to throw a guy under the bus," Tucker said. "I don't believe in doing that. Never have, never will. On that particular play, we, as a defense, didn't get the job done in multiple areas. Rush and coverage. That's where it stands."

Linebacker Lance Briggs took responsibility for the error.

"I shouldn't have made the check," said Briggs, who calls the club's defenses. "I saw something, tried to check out of it, and we don't have a check out of that defense. So I put our defense in jeopardy on that play."

Tucker and other staffers on the defense discussed accountability Wednesday during meetings, stressing the need for everyone involved "to do a better job of being accountable to each other in the room," Tucker said.

"We talked about that and we discussed that's what we need to do. There's nothing we're doing that's at a level to say that, 'We've got that,'" Tucker said. "Every element of what we're doing, we need to do a much better job at. That's the atmosphere we have. It could be leadership, it could be accountability, it could be coaching, it could be playing, it could be technique, it could be fundamentals. All those things need to be ramped up, need to be improved."

The last 33 offensive possessions by Chicago's opponents over the past three games have yielded 14 touchdowns and seven field goals as the unit has forced just six punts. Scoring efficiency for the club's past three opponents has been at least 50 percent in each of those contests.

The Bears currently rank last in the NFL in points allowed (30.8 points per game), and apparently spirited discussions inside the locker room and meeting rooms have taken place regarding the defense's struggles and what they need to do to rebound.

"What's been said will stay between us, all the players," defensive end Jared Allen said. "But nothing's going to be said to make somebody play. You're either self-motivated to be the best, you're either embarrassed when you get your butt kick, and you want to go back out and prove yourself or you're not. That's just the bottom line. This game is humbling. This game exposes people and it humbles you. If you're not in it, you'll get exposed. But I think we've got a good team, and obviously I came here for a reason. I still believe in this team and I still believe in what we have. I still believe in what we can accomplish."