Stephen Paea doesn't fill the stat sheet but he's the main reason the Bears have been dominant…
Unsung hero in the trenches
Under coach Lovie Smith, the Chicago Bears defensive line has always been built on speed and quickness, rather than size and strength. In Smith's system, defensive linemen are tasked with shooting the gaps and penetrating into the backfield. A lumbering, 330-pound nose tackle has no place in Chicago's Cover 2. It's the reason the Bears appointed second-year defensive lineman Stephen Paea, all 298 pounds of him, as the club's starting nose tackle this season. "We don't have 300-pound defensive linemen, so [Smith] wants us to be active and run to the football and to the quarterback," said Paea. Paea, a second-round selection of the 2011 draft, has amazing upper-body strength. He set the bench press record at the NFL Scouting Combine last year (49 reps). His squat frame and thick legs, combined with his raw power, allows him to be extremely explosive off the ball. Against the run, he's very hard to move, as he's very good at gaining leverage on blockers. As a result, the team felt...
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