untung99.biz: How DE Yannick Ngakoue changes the Bears defense

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It’s been speculated. Rumored. Anticipated. And Bears general manager Ryan Poles delivered.

The Bears are signing defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to a one-year, $10.5 million deal, and it was just the jolt of adrenaline that Bears fans were hoping for while they were watching the Hall of Fame game.

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The Chicago faithful’s concerns for the team’s pass-rushing ability in the upcoming season instantly vanished, giving way to thoughts of how devastating a now enhanced defense will be with the addition of Ngakoue. That mental exercise is one worth undertaking, because the defensive end’s arrival to Chicago doesn’t just benefit the front four unit; it changes the way the rest of the defense will attack opposing offenses on Sundays.

Let’s address the obvious: Ngakoue will have a huge impact on the Bears’ ability to get to the quarterback. He made a name for himself disrupting the pocket and making life hell for signal callers. Ngakoue has recorded 65 sacks since joining the league in 2016, tied for seventh most in the NFL.

While chasing around quarterbacks will be Ngakoue’s calling card, he will contribute so much more to the team. Ngakoue will be to the defense what D.J. Moore is to the offense: a cataclysmic variable that both the opponent’s players and coaches will need to game plan for.

Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams must be salivating now that he has Ngakoue, because the amount of creative and complex plays he can call has just drastically increased. Stunts, bluffs, blitzes; all of these concepts and more suddenly have a much higher chance of working due to the threat of Ngakoue on the edge.

Offensive lines will overcompensate to eliminate him from the play, allowing the Bears defensive lineman to face less resistance as a result. If players like Trevis Gipson, DeMarcus Walker, and Dominique Robinson end up having a surprisingly productive year, Ngakoue will be the one they thank.

It’s important to note Ngakoue’s presence has an added effect when it comes to playbooks: while Alan Williams has more options with the edge rusher, the opposition’s playbook changes completely. Picture this: it’s week one, Bears vs. Packers, the bad guys receive the kickoff. First and 10 at the 25-yard line. Jordan Love takes the under-center snap, pivots for the handoff, ball fake, hits his backfoot, looks down the field… and all he sees is a face full of Yannick Ngakoue. Love is sacked, derailing the drive, allowing the Bears to get the ball back.

What’s the plan then for Green Bay offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich? Does he continue to draw up long passing plays for Love, risking another Ngakoue sighting in the backfield? No, the plan changes. The Packers offense would now consist of quick passes, shotgun runs, RPO’s, etc. This in turn makes their offense become one dimensional, giving Bears defenders a shot at reading the play and creating a turnover. That is what’s called the Yannick Ngakoue effect.

The phenomenon isn’t just a fantasy, either – the Bears practiced this philosophy when Khalil Mack was pile-driving offensive lineman in year’s past. Mack completely shut down facets of opposing offenses, as did other great pass-rushers like Joey Bosa, T.J. Watt and Micah Parsons. Is Ngakoue on the same level of those premier edges? Not in terms of talent, but he definitely can conjure that same effect on his opponents.

The Bears filled what may be the biggest hole on the team with the signing of Ngakoue and the effect will quickly be evident come the regular season. While the signing likely won’t move the needle when it comes to wins, it will in the very least allow for the 2023 Bears to reach their full potential.