Do you know anyone that can play defensive tackle? If so, please have them call Halas Hall immediately so they can be fitted for a Bears jersey. The concensus for most important position on defense is a pass rushing defense end. A close second comes a run clogging defensive tackle that can disrupt an opposing teams game plan of running the ball. A successful combination of the two can result in a dominant defensive front that can make the rest of their teammates look good and make highlight reel plays.
The lack of production at defensive tackle may account for part of the sudden calapse of the previously dominant Bears defense. The giant holes in the safety position have been painful to watch, but they wouldn’t be so exposed if opposing offenses weren’t getting the opportunities to go deep.
It’s no secret that part of Brian Urlacher’s success is his uncanny speed to move from sideline to sideline and make a great play. What has also become well known is his inability to shed blockers when a free guard or tackle can come up and disrupt his running lane. Having big, strong defensive tackles that require double teams are what make fast linebackers look so good. It’s also the reason why the Bears linebackers have looked so bad this season.
The Bears are sitting on one of the most promising young defensive tackles in the game in Tommie Harris. He can change the course of a game all by himself. His injuries didn’t heal quite as promised and he ended up spending the entire season battling knee injuries. Harris has managed to play in every game this season with a heavily braced knee and almost no practice time. It has become a regular sight at Halas Hall to see Harris sitting out every practice of every week. He’s been playing on Sunday and only Sunday and has still managed to produce 29 tackles and 7 sacks on the season. It’s actually a little bit scary when you think about how much production this young man would have on two good knees. Going into only his fourth season next year we may witness the development of a truly amazing talent.
The Bears made the off-season move to acquire veteran Darwin Walker from the Philadelphia Eagles, which I thought was genious at the time. Unfortunately, with 17 tackles and 1 sack on the season he hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. Seen walking around Halas Hall in a sling, his status for the final three games looks bleak. His future with the team looks even worse.
I was pretty disappointed when the Bears let go one of my favorite players from last season, Ian Scott, who ironically went to the Eagles but hasn’t played. We also let Alfonso Boone go to the Kansas City Chiefs and magically became a difference maker, but that isn’t saying much with the Chiefs defense. The Bears left us to watch Anthony Adams and Antonio Garay, who have been about as productive as the water boy in making a difference in the game. To make matters worse, both Adams and Garay have placed on the injured reserve and are done for the season.
So let’s review, the Bears have a great player in Harris who is barely playing on one knee, Walker is walking around with a sling, and their two back-ups are on injured reserve. Suddenly the Bears troubles on defense are making sense. The Bears literally have no one left to put at the position. Last Thursday the Bears were forced to play special teamer and back-up linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo to get players rest. This is a sad state of affairs.
So who will the Bears lineup at defensive tackle on Sunday? Today the Bears signed Jimmy Kennedy, who was the 12th overall draft pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2003 and was a bust. He was released by the Denver Broncos in preseason and now finds himself in a position to get a lot of playing time. No word if he is in game shape or has done anything with football up until Tuesday.
On Monday the Bears upgraded Babatunde Oshinowo from the practice squad. He will likely get the start along side Harris on Sunday since he is familiar with the system. He only played in one game last year for the Cleveland Browns and recorded two tackles. Behold your starting defensive tackle Bears fans.
This is going to be ugly. We face the greatest rushing duo in the league with absolutely do depth or skill at a position needed to stop the run. I will be surprised if the Vikings attempt more than 15 passes on Sunday because it won’t be needed.