Embarrassed? Mel Tucker doesn’t have time to be embarrassed.
“Right now, I’m focused on the Vikings,” the Bears’ defensive coordinator said Wednesday, when he met the media for the first time since his defense allowed six first-half touchdowns in a 55-14 loss to the Packers on Sunday night at Lambeau Field. “Being embarrassed, at this point, is not productive. We’re already into Wednesday of the next week, the next game.
“Are we happy with what happened? Obviously not. We have to move on and focus on what we need to do to put in ourselves in a position where we can win and play great defense. That’s where it is — everything else is unproductive.
Tucker, under fire from Bears fans though fully supported by coach Marc Trestman after back-to-back defensive debacles in losses to the Patriots (51-23) and Packers (55-14), was as resolute as ever that the Bears’ defense can recover from its current plight.
“The answers are in our building,” said Tucker, whose defense ranks 26th in the NFL in total yards, 31st in yards per play, 28th in passing yards and 30th in passing yards per play. “They are in our meeting room. They are on the practice field. They are within each individual player and each individual coach. That’s where the answers are. That is where we gotta find them.”
Tucker was unfazed by the enormity of the collapse against the Packers — when Aaron Rodgers threw six touchdown passes in the first half as the Packers took a 42-0 lead. The Bears will keep trying harder to be better.
“Most of the time, the corrections are the basic things,” Tucker said. “That is most of the time after a win or a loss. Are the players good enough to get the job done if that is what you are asking me, I believe yes.”
Seemingly spitting into the gale force blowback of frustrated Bears fans, Tucker made a point to say be would not be making changes — wholesale or otherwise — in response to the back-to-back embarrassments against the Patriots and Packers. On the contrary …
“There are always things we can change. There is nothing set in stone on the lineup,” Tucker said. “But the group that we’re going to put out there we think will give us the best chance to win this game. And so, and I will tell you right now, we plan on going in with the group that started the game.
“That is our plan. This past game. We are going to go in with the group that started that game and we need to get them better, they need to play better, we need to coach them better. Everything we do this week is to be able to get that done. That’s where we are.”
The performance against the Packers, coming after a bye week in which the Bears made similar promises to keep working to improve their execution, indicated to some frustrated fans that the Bears are just not very good. If they haven’t figured out how to execute the defense by Week 10, maybe they’re just not very good.
“It just is what it is,” Tucker said. “That is the reality of the situation when you look at it and say, ‘What do we need to get better?’ And you analyze and you look and you point those areas out and that’s what it is. So that is where we are.”
While to Bears fans and other observers, the defensive performance in recent games seems like a total collapse _— with players making incorrect adjustments and players out of position — Tucker said “It’s not all bad. Just a matter of fixing a few breakdowns that are proving costly.
“When you break it down and you take 60 or 70 plays, there are four or five plays where we were not good,” Tucker said. “So you focus on fixing things that are happening on those plays. There are other plays that we played good football. And you want to build on those plays.
“So you have to home in on what needs to be corrected in those areas. It’s not all bad. But the areas where we need to correct or where we have mistakes, those are big plays, those are huge plays and they cost us touchdowns. So we hone in on those things and we put special emphasis on those areas.”
The Bears play the Vikings at noon Sunday at Soldier Field.