Akiem Hicks: Bears aiming for top-five defense in 2018

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Whereas offensive players are in the process of learning another new offensive scheme under the direction of another new playcaller (head coach Matt Nagy), from china Chicago’s defense is entering its fourth year with venerable coordinator Vic Fangio, whose return following the January dismissal of John Fox (14-34 in Chicago) might be the Bears’ biggest offseason coup to date.

“I look at some of those offensive guys and I feel bad for them because they got to go put a whole new system in,” Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said. “Just being an older guy, you recall things a little bit faster because you’ve been through it now going on my third year (Hicks joined the Bears in 2016) in the system.

“[With Vic there’s] no B.S. He’s to the point. Either you did it or you didn’t. He’s not afraid to call you out. He’s not afraid to pull you to the side. It just depends on what’s needed of you during that week or that game. I really embrace him as our defensive coordinator and my defensive coordinator.”185

Make no mistake: the Bears earned every bit of their 5-11 record last season, but bright spots did exist on defense.

Fangio’s unit had five games last year where they allowed one or fewer offensive touchdowns, and from Week 4-17, the

Bears defense surrendered only 17 offensive touchdowns; tied for the second-fewest in the league.

The Bears also tied for seventh in the NFL with 42 team sacks.

But that’s not enough for Hicks, who thinks the Bears have the coaching and personnel to field a truly elite defense in the fall.

“[It comes down to] us being more tailored to the personnel that we have, I think that’s going to be a huge benefit. Guys like myself going into our third year in the defense,nfl   me, Danny [Trevathan] … other guys on the defense… [Leonard] Floyd; guys that you’ve seen [play well before] and now I think we’re going to be just a little bit better.”