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Chicago Bears' defense is dominating games, having fun

The Chicago Bears have dominated teams by relying on their turnover hungry defense in 2012, and the success at the midway point of the season has loosened up the locker room.

Jonathan Daniel

The Chicago Bears' defense has propelled the team to an impressive 7-1 record start the season, and the early success has created a very loose and fun atmosphere in the locker room. Even head coach Lovie Smith, who is known for his stoic demeanor, has seemingly lightened up in recent weeks -- because questions in post game press conferences become much easier to answer when everything is going well (via ESPN Chicago):

"One statement that always gets me, when things aren't going exactly the way you want, everyone says 'the guys have to start having fun,'" coach Lovie Smith said on Monday, a day after the Bears beat Tennessee 51-20. "Can't have fun unless you're doing something really good. If we continue to make plays you'll see a loose group, having fun."

Tim Jennings earned NFC Player of the Month honors in September, Charles Tillman claimed the same accolade for October, Julius Peppers has impacted the play of the front four in unbelievable ways and the pass rush has made it nearly impossible for opposing teams to build leads.

Brandon Marshall says he couldn't possibly be having more fun than he is right now in Chicago -- which is part of the reason why he has already talked about his desire to retire as a Bears player -- and even the "issues" with Jay Cutler's sideline behavior have melted away in recent weeks.

Can the Bears keep the vibe going with a win on Sunday night against the Houston Texans? Week 10 will be the biggest test of the season for Chicago, and everyone will be watching, so we won't have to wait much longer to find out.