Situation Excellent

It was 1914 near the Marne River and the German army was going marching through France as fast as their boots could take them.  Ferdinand Foch was a French General who reportedley sent a message back to HQ that said "Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am attacking."  At this point in the season that largely sums up Ron Rivera's position; and that attitude may go some ways towards easing the Chargers woes.  Watching this defense slowly, inexoriably yeild yards, points and time to opponents has been excruciation; it is the Chinese water torture of NFL defenses.  In Rivera's time in Chicago there looks to be hope that this will return to a more aggressive, risk taking unit.  We have seen what waiting for mistakes has brought without Merriman to pressure the quarterback.

Ron Rivera played at linebacker in the Bears halcyon days when they were perhaps one of the greatest defenses ever to take the field.  When asked what his defense needed to do in the Super Bowl, Rivera replied “Play consistent and finish. When you’ve got a team down, put them out. Even if it’s early in the third quarter, put them out. It doesn’t matter what the lead is. Just put them away."  Rivera's defense carried those 2006 Bears to the Super Bowl; his replacement has not fared as well with exactly the same personnel.  Rivera is also credited with some of the ball hawking done last year by Chargers linebackers; though certainly the tackling this year has been grievous.  The 2006 Bears led the league in turnovers, then in 2007 it was the Chargers; clearly its not as simple as Rivera's coming here, but he does seem to have played a role.

 

Chicago Bears under Rivera

 

Points Yards Rush Pass Net Turnovers
2004 13 21 25 15 -8
2005 1 2 11 5 6
2006 3 5 11 6 8

 

Overall my impression of Cottrell was that he didn't adapt the defense enough after the loss of Merriman.   In the radio interview with Kevin Acee under the fanshots; he says that the Buffalo game was like ground hog day.  That struck a chord, this defense, after finding a succesful, more aggressive approach against the Jets went right back to what hadn't worked against Carolina or Denver.  The zone without pressure just leads to long demoralizing drives which wear down our defense and keep the strongest part of the team on the bench.  Ron Rivera's press conference was fairly mealy mouthed, he didn't come out with any diagnosis of what was wrong, nor a prescription of how he would fix it; but based on his days in Chicago I expect to see a more aggressive unit in Kansas City.

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