Bears' D focused on the fundamentals

Alibis for ineptitude aren’t exclusive to the Bears offense, apparently.

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli attributed the team’s inability to stop teams on third down this preseason to the staff experimenting to “find the right mix of what we want.”

Chicago’s starting defense allowed the Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders to convert 9 of 17 (nearly 53 percent) on third down in the club’s last two outings.

“Each game we’ve kind of had kind of a theme on certain things we wanted to look at,” Marinelli said. “Each one, we’ve tried to feature something to take a good look at that area; maybe a certain zone, maybe a zone pressure, maybe man, all those different things. So you get a chance to see maybe what we do do best. You have a chance to evaluate those things.”

Perhaps for the preseason finale Thursday night in Cleveland, Marinelli and the staff will choose sure tackling as the theme to thoroughly evaluate. The club has been plagued by missed tackles -- especially at the safety position -- which have turned what should be short gains into first downs.

Marinelli pointed out fundamentals as one of the areas in which he hopes to see improvement as the Bears close the preseason in preparation for their Sept. 12 regular-season opener against Detroit.

“The basics, how hard you’re playing -- obviously tackling -- all the fundamental parts of your game, you want to highlight that [in the preseason finale],” Marinelli said. “And then there’s some key battles going on. We always talk about three dogs, one bone -- fighting for it -- and I appreciate that. We all should. How hard are they gonna compete to earn a job? Those are the areas you’re looking at.”