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Bears season preview: Hope on defense comes from front seven

The ray of hope,Authentic William Jackson Jersey, flicker and glimmer for the Bears on defense this season.

Ray of hope

Akiem Hicks doesn't need an entire newspaper page to preview the Bears' 2017 front seven. One word is enough. And, come to think of it, well, he'd print it in such a big font that it would take up an entire page after all.

"Dominant," he said.

But the loquacious defensive end doesn't stop there.

"That's how your defensive mentality has to be — you're just aggressive and dominating. You want the team to be able to look at your front seven and say, man, 'Oh, they're out there kicking butt.' That's how I see it."

Those who watched the Bears' front seven in three exhibition games could accurately offer that assessment. In the starters' five quarters of preparation for the regular season, they surrendered just 55 yards on 26 non-quarterback carries.

That's 2.1 yards per carry. Basically, a brick wall.

The Bears heavily invested in their front seven during the 2016 offseason, adding Hicks and inside linebackers Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan in free agency and drafting outside linebacker Leonard Floyd with the No. 9 pick.

Trevathan and Floyd, even with Goldman, weakened the group last season. But, Hicks, plus Freeman's four-game PED suspension,Injuries to nose tackle Eddie Goldman, Trevathan and defensive end Mitch Unrein missing time with injuries this preseason, the front seven appears to have come together.

"When I first got here last year, trying to get your foot in,Authentic Jonathan Bullard Jersey, "there were a lot of free agents who came in, understanding the defense,Authentic Kevin White Jersey," Freeman said,Authentic Hroniss Grasu Jersey, understanding what's expected of you, what they want within the defense and on the team.

"Now,Authentic Tyler Boyd Jersey,womens Eddie Goldman Jersey, everybody is comfortable. Everybody knows everybody, a year later,Authentic Nick Vigil Jersey, knows the defense. It's a sense of being … comfortable within the system. It's a good feeling to have."

with rare athleticism. In exhibition games,Hicks and Goldman have been the tone-setters. They're humungous men at 330 and 320 pounds, they consistently won blocks with quick hands, respectively, nimble feet and brute strength.

If they can stop the run like that in the regular season, they'll keep opponents in third-and-long and increase the odds of takeaways on the back end.

As opening statements go, Floyd's was loud and clear.

he won a hand fight against Broncos right tackle Menelik Watson,On the first snap of the first exhibition game, then suddenly turned the corner and plowed into quarterback Trevor Siemian.

Jaws dropped throughout Soldier Field.

Leonard. It's gonna be like that,OK, huh?

in which various injuries caused him to miss four games,So far, half of two others, it appears that way. Floyd has participated fully in every practice since the Bears took the field in Bourbonnais for the first time July 27. That's a huge improvement from his disjointed rookie season, 11 full practices and limited him in 12 others.

By consistently practicing this summer, he has steadily sharpened his techniques and amassed experience in coordinator Vic Fangio's scheme.

" Fangio said,"The things he thought were kind of hard last year, "may come easy for him."

Things like angles taking on blockers and knowing what to look for in the offensive formation to trigger adjustments. Floyd also has been working on more efficient footwork getting off the snap. Coaches noticed last season that he would take a false step,womens Jonathan Bullard Jersey,womens Kevin White Jersey, which mitigated his biggest asset — his speed.

Floyd had seven sacks as a rookie, he's a top candidate. If he stays healthy,Authentic Eddie Goldman Jersey,womens Hroniss Grasu Jersey,womens William Jackson Jersey,womens Tyler Boyd Jersey,womens Nick Vigil Jersey, and a jump into double digits this season is reasonable to expect. In the Bears' search for game-changing difference-makers, he could emerge as a star.

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