With a DL that contains Pro Bowlers Tommie Harris and Adewale Ogunleye and an up-and-coming star Alex Brown, the DL for the line looks pretty good even though they underachieved last season.
But with all the open competitions on both the offense and defense, what is talked about the least specifically is the NT position, the spot next to Tommie Harris.
In the past, it was taken over by Tank Johnson, Ian Scott, and Alfonso Boone, but with all of them gone, it leaves the position open for two veterans: the 2006 second round pick from Oklahoma, Dusty Dvoracek, and the former 49er, Anthony Adams. (I could include Marcus Harrison but he is still raw and is Tommie’s back-up, and Jarron Gilbert hasn’t played a down yet).
In the 2006 draft, the Bears selected Dvoracek in the third round to help compliment the “then” stout defensive line. Dvoracek was Tommie Harris’s teammate at Oklahoma, so I’m pretty sure that was one the reasons the Bears selected him.
His career started like every other rookie. He competed for a starting spot and got good looks at camp. He looked as a capable back-up for the NT positions until he sustained a foot injury during a preseason game that put him on the injured reserve for season. The Dusty Dvoracek experiment had to wait till the next season.
In 2007, with the release of Johnson, Boone, and Scott, Dusty won the job and was a starter for the first game. But once again, he found himself on the IR for the season after an ACL injury. Another year without the “experiment”.
Now in 2008, Dusty gained the starting job again and made it past the first game. He started all 12 games before he ended his season once again on the……sigh……injured reserve. But on his third season, the Bears finally got a glimpse of what he was as a player, and why the Bears coaches were so high of him. He plugged holes very well and………well……I guess that's it.
During his 2008 season, he only made 29 tackles and two passes defended.
What would’ve made the statistics better would have been QB pressures, tackles for loss, and, better yet, SACKS!
Now the argument can be made that his job was only to plug holes, stop the ball carrier, and help his college/NFL teammate Tommie Harris get the pressure. But for someone the Bears organization was so high on, he should have done more…..a lot more. The line underachieved during the season ,and Dusty could’ve shined or be a bright spot in that line. But he didn’t. He did little, then got injured.
His attitude in the locker is great from what the players are saying and is excited for an upcoming season. Well he better be excited since his job is now in question,
After being released from the 49ers in 2007, the Bears signed the former Penn State product to help after the losses of Johnson, Boone, and Scott. He was signed mainly for back-up reasons with the possibility of being a starter in the near future.
After being inactive for the first few games of the Bears 2008 season, he was declared active after Dvoracek was put on IR again. He played adequately during the stretch and helped the Bears in their late three-game winning streak before the loss in Houston.
His statistics don’t vary much from Dusty’s but the pass rush was slightly better when he was playing. His break-out game had to be against Jacksonville when applied constant pressure on Jaguars QB David Garrard. Adams was constantly on Garrard the whole game and Garrard had one of his worst QB performances. Though Adams may not be Pro Bowl materiel, he did fill in quite nicely in Dusty’s absence and perhaps did slightly better then Dusty.
Overall, if I was Coach Smith, I would select Adams the starter come week one. But I'm not him, and I’m not getting to see the OTAs and Training camp. So, the realistic starter will be Dusty Dvorace, but this season very well my be his last chance. Whether he plays poorly or get on IR again, the Bears will probably cut him loose, whether Tommie likes it or not. If Adams does become a starter again, he needs to perform his duties a lot better and continue his mean streak that we have seen him do in the last weeks of last season.
Lovie always says it starts with the front four. Thus, this position battle may be an integral part in the Bears success on defense.