Bears’ tackling is lacking
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter December 4, 2013 10:21PM
Updated: December 4, 2013 11:37PM
Last week, injured linebacker Lance Briggs said stopping the run “really comes down to heart.”
For the Bears, any part of the chest will do.
The team missed 11 tackles Sunday in Minneapolis, according to Pro Football Focus, the sixth time in 12 games they’ve reached double digits.
Before this season, they’d missed 10 or more tackles six times in their previous 82 games.
Think about that for a minute.
While not all the missed tackles came on Adrian Peterson jaunts — he plowed for 211 yards on 35 carries — safeties Chris Conte and Craig Steltz combined to whiff five times on runs.
Isn’t it a little late in the season to be talking about tackling?
“We can do tackling drills, certainly, in practice,” coach Marc Trestman said this week. “And that’s how everybody does it. There’s no other way to get it done.”
Trestman wouldn’t pin the league’s worst run defense on rookie linebackers Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene.
“Both of them played better this week than they did the week before, and they were in the right place,” Trestman said. “We were in the right place a lot more this week, doing a lot of the right things.”
Still, the Bears’ 153.6 rushing yards allowed per game and five yards allowed per carry are last in the NFL.
“We’re not going to make excuses for them being young or being first-year players,” he said.
“We’re seeing growth from the standpoint that we think our young guys can really have good careers here and be productive players.
“It takes everybody around them to get that done, not just them.”
Especially against Peterson.
“He fights for every yard he gets,” cornerback Zack Bowman said. “Even when you think he’s down, he’s not.”
Defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff called Peterson a great back but said “there are things we have to work on.”
Searching for a silver lining, Trestman again stressed that the Bears were in the right position against the Vikings.
That hasn’t always been the case, but it’s also faint praise.
“We didn’t make every tackle in the hole that we wanted to,” Trestman said. ‘‘We just didn’t get it done.
‘‘But we were in the right position to do it, and that’s a plus.”