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Bears Showing Only a Few Defensive Flaws After Signings

The defense as assembled through free agency to date leaves almost nothing as a weakness except possibly depth at outside and inside linebacker

A couple of depth positions remain concerns on a Bears defense otherwise loaded, and both are at linebacker.

One of those invites the question once again whether it's time to sign Aaron Lynch?

The Bears did bring in Barkevious Mingo as a potential all-purpose type of linebacker and he has truly done this in his career. He's played an outside linebacker in the 4-3, which equated to playing the inside in the 3-4. He's also been an outside linebacker in the 3-4 as an edge rusher without much success. He was an outside linebacker last year in a 4-3 with Seattle and has only 10 career sacks.

What Mingo has really done well is play special teams, and it's going to be a vital role. He did this for special teams coordinator Chris Tabor in Cleveland and played a role of sub for Chuck Pagano's last 3-4 defense in Indianapolis, with six starts in 2017.

Mingo is more of a Kevin Pierre-Louis type of player than an edge rusher at 6-5, 235.

The ideal solution to all of this would be fifth-round draft pick Trevis Gipson, but automatic ascension into a vital role with 30% of the defensive snaps in relief of Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn cannot be assumed for a rookie. It might take some development before he can accomplish this.

The Bears still have Isaiah Irving and James Vaughters on the roster but neither is a stout presence against the run and haven't done much as pass rushers, either. Irving is 6-3, 254 and ideal size as a pass rusher but hasn't really developed.

Irving has been in Chicago three years, and played 11% and 12% of the defensive snaps the past two seasons with only one sack. Vaughters got into three games last year.

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With Lynch the Bears had a player who could take on the role of stout edge in a short-yardage or goal-line defense because he weighed 285 pounds. He was more of a 4-3 end than a linebacker. But he had enough pass-rush ability to get after the quarterback if needed with a bull rush.

The problem with Lynch was his lack of sack production when he did play for Mack and Leonard Floyd.

He came up with five sacks the last two seasons despite playing 34% and 23% of the snaps and they needed more consistent heat.

There are other options out there in free agency. If the Bears wanted to go old they could sign Clay Matthews, and if they wanted to go even older, like grandpa old, there's Terrell Suggs. But both could be pricey and might not be ideal fits for what Lynch was doing.

The other position where the Bears are lacking is inside linebacker. Mingo solves some of this problem. They have to hope between former Buc Devante Bond, second-year player Josh Woods and Joel Iyiegbuniwe there is at least one or two others who could be backups.

Rookie Rashad Smith from Florida Atlantic is another option after he led his team in tackles last year.

Neither of these problems seem difficult to overcome, and development of a few rookies could go a long way toward solving the problem now and for the future.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven