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Stopping the run just another thing Bears’ ‘D’ needs to tackle

Updated: December 3, 2013 5:30PM



Last week, injured linebacker Lance Briggs said that stopping the run “really comes down to heart.”

For the Bears, though, any part of the chest will do.

The team missed 11 tackles Sunday in Minneapolis, according to Pro Football Focus, marking 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 totes — 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,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said this week. “And that’s how everybody does it. There’s no other way to get it done.”

Tackling and run-stopping aren’t mutually exclusive — you have to be in the right position to miss a tackle — but Trestman wouldn’t pin the league’s worst rush 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 5 yards 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 the Vikings star.

“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 admitted “there are things we have to work on.”

Searching for a silver lining, Trestman said the Bears were in the right position Sunday.

That hasn’t always been the case — but is also damning with faint praise.

“We didn’t make every tackle in the hole that we wanted to,” he said, “But we were in the right position to do it — we just didn’t get it done — and that’s a plus.”

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @patrickfinley



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