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Bears, Redskins have had problems tackling this season

Lance Briggs Da'Rel Scott

Lance Briggs, Da'Rel Scott

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The early line on the Bears-Redskins game: Bet the over. These are the two worst-tackling teams in the NFL.

After 10 more missed tackles Thursday against the Giants, the Bears have 55 missed tackles for the season, tied with the winless Jaguars for the second-most in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. The Redskins lead the league with 60.

The Bears had 85 missed tackles last season, tied for the 10th-fewest in the NFL. They’re on a pace for 147 this season.

Injuries to defensive tackles Henry Melton, Nate Collins and Stephen Paea are a likely culprit. Opposing backs are running freely to the second and third levels, which makes tackling a little more problematic.

Linebacker Lance Briggs has 12 missed tackles this season, according to PFF. He had nine all of last season.

Room for improvement

The Bears rank 20th in the NFL in total defense (373 yards per game) and 26th in points allowed (26.8).

‘‘I can only speak for myself in the [secondary], but I think we need to tackle better,’’ Pro Bowl cornerback Tim Jennings said when asked what the defense has to improve upon. ‘‘We need to get off the field on third down. We can always improve on taking the ball away.

‘‘We always think it starts up front with our rush, once they can get everybody else going. I think that’s why we’re not able to create some things and get off the field like we want to. But it’s something we can fix. Every segment [of the defense] is looking at ways they can improve.’’

It’s a start

Undrafted rookie defensive tackle Zach Minter played 14 snaps against the Giants in his NFL debut. That’s not a lot of playing time, but it’s not bad, considering he was getting
ready to play Eastern Washington at this time last season at Montana State.

Minter was credited with one hurry against the Giants.

‘‘Watching film definitely
gave me some things I need to work on, but I saw some things I did right,’’ the 6-1, 297-pound Minter said. ‘‘There are things I know I do well that I can contribute to this D-line and this defense.

‘‘I didn’t have one play I can hang my hat on. Maybe when I get my first sack, that’ll be it.’’

This and that

After six weeks, Jay Cutler ranks eighth in the NFL in passer rating (95.2). Last season at this time, he ranked 28th (78.7).

◆ The Bears are tied with the Seahawks for third in the NFL in turnover differential (plus-7). They trail the Chiefs (plus-12) and Titans (plus-8).

◆ The Bears are third in the NFL in points per game (28.7), fourth in sacks allowed per pass attempt and 11th in total offense after Week 6. Last season, they were 16th in points, 27th in sacks allowed and 28th in total offense for the season.

Email: mpotash@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MarkPotash



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