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updated: 8/19/2014 7:49 PM

Tucker's on mission to eliminate missed tackles

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  • Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said last season, "We gave up over 1,400 yards in missed tackles alone. That's been a big point of emphasis. Our tackling has been solid so far, but tackling is one of those things you can't take for granted."

       Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said last season, "We gave up over 1,400 yards in missed tackles alone. That's been a big point of emphasis. Our tackling has been solid so far, but tackling is one of those things you can't take for granted."
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 

Coordinator Mel Tucker's defense was the NFL's worst last year in yards allowed per play, rushing yards allowed and average gain allowed per running play. It was also 30th in total yards allowed.

As even a casual observer would note, missed tackles were to blame for much of the problem, and the Bears' defensive coordinator agrees.

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"That was a huge issue last year," Tucker said. "We gave up over 1,400 yards in missed tackles alone. That's been a big point of emphasis. Our tackling has been solid so far, but tackling is one of those things you can't take for granted.

"We still have missed a couple tackles, a few. One is too many. But we're going to continue to address it and practice it and work on it and demand that we get that, and our guys respond to that. They want to be great tacklers. They understand the importance of tackling. But it's something that's a daily -- it's a daily process. It's basically a lifestyle."

Not just a snap:

Early in training camp after an unimpressive display by long-snappers Brandon Hartson and Chad Rempel, special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis voiced his disappointment.

"We've got to work through the process and find out who our guy's gonna be," DeCamillis said. "Hopefully he's on this team right now -- he may not be."

Now, DeCamillis admits, he may have rushed to judgment a bit.

"I wish I wouldn't have said that one," he said. That got legs. Those guys have really done a great job since that point."

Hartson did a better job, and he's now the only long-snapper on the roster after Rempel was waived Monday.

The 6-foot-2, 238-pound Hartson was originally signed by the Bears as an undrafted rookie last year and was on the roster for the first three preseason games before being waived. To hang onto the job and prevent the Bears from signing an experienced veteran who might be cut by another team, Hartson must do more than just the deliver the ball quickly and accurately on punts and placekicks.

"It's not just snapping it and getting the laces (right) and making sure the rotation is (right)," DeCamillis said. "It's the protection part of it on punts because you have to account for those guys and that's really where (he's) improved the last couple weeks. Hopefully we can continue that."

The right direction:

Linebackers Shea McClellin and Jon Bostic, neither of whom impressed in the preseason opener, both improved last week and hope to build on that Friday night against the Seahawks. McClellin had 4 solo tackles against the Jaguars, 1 more than Bostic.

"I liked the way Shea played," defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. "I thought he made improvement from the first game to the second game. I think he took a step forward.

"Jon Bostic, same thing. We were pleased with what those guys did on the field. Thought they played fast. They were physical, got off blocks, finished on the ball, and it was good to see."

Injury report:

Defensive end Jared Allen did not practice Tuesday because of a bruised shoulder, and cornerbacks Kyle Fuller (ankle) and Isaiah Frey (hamstring) remain out, along with offensive linemen Jordan Mills (left foot), Eben Britton (hamstring) and Brian de la Puente (knee).

Linebacker Lance Briggs (bruised knee) returned to practice after missing Monday.

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