Bears defense improving, but Fangio still not satisfied
The Bears' defense had a season-best 5 sacks in last week's 29-23 loss to the Colts, just one less than it accumulated in the first four games combined.
But defensive coordinator Vic Fangio wasn't satisfied.
"Although we had five sacks, our pass rush was not consistently good enough in the game," Fangio said. "We let the quarterback (Andrew Luck) extend plays three times to make big plays with the pass. He ran for twelve yards one time. It was not consistent."
In the first half, when Luck was sacked twice on 26 dropbacks, he connected with Quan Bray for 22 yards after scanning the field for several seconds. He later found T.Y. Hilton for 31 yards, and three plays later for 21 yards. He was not touched on either pass.
Fangio warned that the rush will have to be better Sunday against Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles.
"I see a young quarterback with a lot of tools that's improving year-to-year and week-to-week," Fangio said. "He's got a strong arm (and) he's very athletic. We're going to have to do a better job of keeping him in the pocket and not letting him extend plays and throw on the run or scramble for first downs.
"That's going to have to be an improvement over last week."
After allowing 5 sacks in the season opener, the Bears have permitted just six in the ensuing four games, including none last week.
The offensive line added veteran Josh Sitton at left guard and moved rookie Cody Whitehair to center in the week before the opener, causing some disruption. But the same five players have started in all five games, and the group appears to have jelled.
And Brian Hoyer has been sacked just three times in three-plus games.
"The passing game has a lot of moving parts," coach John Fox said. "It's getting rid of the ball on time. It's getting proper reads. Obviously, the protection's key. We're getting more comfortable with the continuity of the people and the communication it takes in game conditions. We're making progress, but we're not there yet."
Quarterback Jay Cutler (right thumb), running back Jeremy Langford (ankle), wide receiver Eddie Royal (calf), nose tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle) and cornerback Deiondre' Hall (ankle) did not practice Thursday.
Limited were wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (hamstring), cornerbacks Tracy Porter (knee) and Bryce Callahan (hamstring), tight end Zach Miller (ribs), guard Josh Sitton (shoulder), running back Ka'Deem Carey (hamstring) and linebackers Jerrell Freeman (wrist), Willie Young (knee, elbow), Sam Acho (ribs) and Leonard Floyd (calf). Defensive lineman Will Sutton (pectoral) got in a full practice.
Wide receiver Kevin White had surgery Tuesday for his fractured fibula and, according to coach John Fox, "It went well, he's recovering nicely, and he's on the mend now."
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