LAKE FOREST – As Bears’ fans were counting at home during the game, Sean Desai was doing the same in film sessions afterward.
First, there were the amount of missed tackles the defense had in a 34-14 loss to the Rams on Sunday, and the defensive coordinator had a number for the media on Wednesday afternoon.
“We had eight grades where he had missed tackles on, a total of 12 missed tackles. That means on one play you had four or five guys miss. That’s a function of pursuit and angles,” said Desai of the tackling. “Those are things we will continue to correct and continue to fix.”
How about blown coverages? There were a few that were glaring during the defeat that helped Los Angeles open up what was still a close game in the third quarter.
“Off the top of my head, I would say there was probably only two or three majors busts,” said Desai of the pass coverage. “A missed coverage isn’t a one-on-one, that’s not a missed coverage because that’s this league. The offense’s got to win their fair share of one-on-ones and the defense has to win their fair share of those one-on-ones, so that’s not a blown coverage.
“There was a very limited number of those and we got exposed on them because good teams and good quarterbacks expose you on those things.”
Matthew Stafford did with a pair of long touchdowns where there was coverage breakdowns that proved to be critical in the defeat. It’s brought a healthy amount of scrutiny on the first-year defensive coordinator and the players who the past few years have been the ones helping to keep the team competitive with the offense struggling.
An effort like the one in the loss on Sunday isn’t one that’s typical of this defense, and that’s why Desai doesn’t want the unit to dwell on it as they approach a Week 2 match-up with the Bengals.
“You can’t hang onto anything in this league,” said Desai. “This is a marathon that we’re running right now and we’re at the first start of it. So you can’t hang on because that’s where things snowball. So the way we handled it was how everybody I’ve been a part of it, everyone I witnessed handled it. You address the issues, you’re very direct, and you take accountability.
“That starts with myself. I let the guys know where I was accountable and they knew where they were accountable, and then we move forward, and we’ve got a plan to attack the Bengals and improve on from our performance from Week 1.”
So how does the defensive coordinator handle criticism with a number of veteran players who had forgettable games on Sunday? Desai said that he returns to his roots in the education world to read each situation individually.
“It’s an individualized approach to each guy, because everybody doesn’t respond to the same way of coaching and teaching. I’ve learned that through my education background,” said Desai. “So you’ve got to be able to reach these guys where they’re at and make sure they’re responding to where they’re at, and that’s what we’re going to do.
“I think we’ve got good relationships on the defense, from the coaches to the players and the players to the players. That’s what we’re going to bank on to continue to develop guys.”