Chicago Sun-Times

Rod Marinelli sets bar high for the defense

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Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli knows what it's like to work with an elite defense, given his time in Tampa.

But Marinelli has no problems with his current defenders having lofty goals.

"I think the biggest thing is you set bars. You set a bar, and high," he said. "Guys who are very competitive will try to get to that bar.

"I think the biggest challenge is just day-to-day consistency," Marinelli later said. "They're a highly-talented group. There's no doubt about it. It's down in and down out, playing at an extremely high level."

One player who could help is two-time Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather. But Marinelli, like head coach Lovie Smith, isn't showing his hand on what the expectation is for the veteran.

"It's just kind of week to week, really," Marinelli said. "You get him in and everything is swimming. You're throwing everything [at him]. [He's] a real smart guy. I think he understands everything we're doing. But now it's just doing it; the repetition of doing it, the run fits and all those things."

For now, though, the Bears focus is on the Atlanta Falcons, a club that boasts a dangerous offense.

"They are a team that's got a lot of weapons," Marinelli said. "But I think it really starts with that front. It's a very, very tough front."

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The Atlanta Falcons might have a tough front, but its a young and banged up front also. Tackle Tyson Clabo has an elbow injury (can you say Peppers on Clabo all day) and inside the Falcons have two new starters in center Joe Hawley and right guard Garrett Reynolds. Chicago needs to go after these guys and bring the heat on Ryan, they can't give Ryan any time in the pocket, especially with the receiving core the Falcons have in Roddy White and rookie Julio Jones. Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings are gonna have their hands full sunday, again, the front four is gonna have to get after Matt Ryan to make Tillman and Jennings job easier.

The player to watch is gonna be safety Major Wright, he's gotta know his job is on the line with the recent signing of Brandon Meriweather. Meriweather will either push Wright to play better, or out of the starting lineup, should be interesting GO BEARS!!

Kevin I'm not ready to say Wright won't play because Merriweather is here ! I can see them being in a rotation system with Harris and all three of them in the game in certain nickel or dime packages.The guy makes plays and the team needs playmakers, I'm not always with Angelo, but this was a good move.

Only reason he's out of NE is that he fell out of favor with the "General" Belicheck/ Wright was a high draft pick who showed potential, he got faked out a few times in pre-season and everyone's ready to sit him. He needs time on the field to allow his skill set to mesh with the speed of the game. I'm excited to see what the Defense can do with the inclusion of the new additions, Okoye and Merriweather, along with possible growth from Melton, and the All-Pro's we could be pretty good. But they have to be able to take the ball away, especially early, these three games are huge and will define the season.

Why would you put Peppers on Atlanta's best lineman. Clabo is way better than Baker, Baker sucks. Why move him? McLure may be out, and Hawley is new but he can run block. I am sure he will struggle as a rookie in his first game, but he can beat guys one on one. Besides if your going to point out there line, you mat want to turn that finger towards the Bears line, Falcons got a pretty good front 7, there secondary is an issue for them but that front 4 is not gonna be easy.

I think this game is all predicated on if the defense can stop the run with front 7. If they do that and Ryan has to throw ball 30+ times and Peppers, MElton, and ISreal can pin their ear back and rush QB the bears win. Matt Ryan is good, but he's at his best when he has a run game to help.

On the other side of the ball i think Atlanta is average on defense. I think there offense was able to hide how bad the defense was with time of possesion. If the bears can run ball and use play action bears win

chitownbear, I'm not saying sit Major Wright, I know you've read some of my other post on here, so you know I'm a Major Wright fan. I'm just saying Wright needs to get his act together or he probably is gonna get benched. A couple missed tackles in the pre-season is one thing, one in the regular season that cost the Bears a game is a whole other story. Again, I like Wright and think he can be a very good player, but, I think he might be a better fit at strong safety. Wright has range, I just don't think he has free safety type range that the Bears are looking for for the position. Also, you gotta ask yourself, are the Bears 100% set on Wright as their free safety? Why were they all over Meriweather once he became available? Why did Lovie Smith keep saying Wright didn't make enough plays on the ball during the pre-season as we would have liked? Myself, I figured Harris would stay at free safety for this season, hold the position down for rookie Chris Conte, and Wright would be the strong safety. I do agree with you chitownbear I say give Wright a shot, but he needs to produce, thats all I'm saying.

Creighton, in the above blog by Sean, it tells about Marinelli saying Atlanta has a strong front, thats why I made the comment about their o-line being young and banged up. Why would I say anything about our front? Marinelli wasn't talking about the Bears front, you do realize that....right? And Creighton, yes Clabo is better than Baker, a healthy Clabo. My only point was why not put Julius Peppers on a banged up linemen? GO BEARS!!

Check that, I shouldn,t say secondary, I should say they have some issues on pass defense. Could be there LB's but I don't watch a lot of Atlanta games, can't stand the uniforms. I know they have a good corner, an under performing corner, a good safety, a really bad safety, and I have no clue if there nickle corner is any good, not even sure who it is. I also know they don't have Urlacher dropping back. I would be really surprised if Atlanta wins sunday, or is even above 500 this year, but who knows so many teams are up in the air these days.

Should be a great game with the Bears ability to get to the Qb the key to the game.
If Ryan has time to pass, that will create some running lanes for the run game as well as the possibility of some long pass completions.

The Bears have to stuff the run, which they can do against a fairly new Atlanta o line, Then get after the QB, it could be a great day for the defense.

Despite going against three of the best offenses in the game in their first three games, I think this should a top 5 defense in points allowed and in run defense.

We will see, I am excited to see if Melton and Okoye can create some pressure up the middle, particularly since the Falcons have changed some o line positions since last year.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on September 8, 2011 4:42 PM.

Chris Harris: 'We plan on being a top-3 defense' was the previous entry in this blog.

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