Bears get more kick with Peppers on ‘D’

CHICAGO — The ink had barely dried on his gargantuan contract when Julius Peppers started to feel comfortable in his new surroundings. The Chicago Bears can only hope that means plenty of discomfort for opponents.

If not, they could be in for more changes.

“All I know is this year, we really aren’t in need for much,” Peppers said.

“We pretty much have everything we need. I predict great things from this defense, and hopefully, we can live up to it.”

Whether that group comes through will go a long way toward determining if the Bears get back into contention following a 7-9 season and third straight playoff miss that has coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jerry Angelo down to maybe their last chance.

Even president Ted Phillips acknowledged he had seen enough, although not quite enough to get rid of the head coach and GM, when he issued a win-or-else mandate after last season.

The coaching staff got a makeover with two new coordinators and an overhaul on the offensive side.

Rod Marinelli got moved up to defensive coordinator, although Smith will still set the tone. The Bears turned over the offense to Mike Martz, hoping he can get Jay Cutler to cut interceptions.

The Bears open the season Sept. 12 at home against Detroit.