When the Bears traded for defensive end Adewale Ogunleye in 2004 they did so with the idea in mind that he would be a game changing pass rusher on defense. Annual double digit sack totals from him seemed like a given after he led the NFL in sacks with 15 in 2003. How wrong the Bears were in their evaluation of Ogunleye who has had one double digit sack season since then.
In 2005 Ogunleye racked up 10 sacks and was promptly rewarded with another high paying contract extension. Since 2005 Ogunleye has managed 6.5, 9.0, 5.0 and 4.5 sacks over that span of four disappointing seasons. Around Chicago Ogunleye is known as a contract year player because he seems to play his best football and gets his most production when his contract is up and he'll be a free agent. Trying to get the most production possible to cash in with more money.
This was all supposed to change with Ogunleye in yet another contract year, but also with the addition of Rod Marinelli. After the first game of the season it looked quite possibly like this would be Ogunleye's best year. Instead it's turning into yet another disappointing and all too typical year for the 32-year-old veteran. Ogunleye has had two games where he has recorded two sacks in each of those games this season. Unfortunately those games seem like they were absolute flukes and in no way indicative of the type of season he was set to have.
As I pointed out during the Lions game when Ogunleye racked up 2 .5 sacks this season O-Gun was the beneficiary of poorly executed blocking schemes. In other words in his two sacks, O-Gun was not blocked, the Lions didn't even bother to block him so he had a free shot to the QB. He took full advantage of being unblocked and made the sacks, while simultaneously giving false hope to the city of Chicago.
What I can say now without question is that the same old under achieving and overrated DE still mans the left DE spot on the Bears' defensive line. All the criticism in the world can be launched at Tommie Harris, but O-Gun has always been 100-percent healthy versus battling chronic knee problems like Harris has. What we get is zero pressure and zero sacks in five of the Bears' seven games this season from a long time veteran who would like to finish out his career in Chicago.
Against the Cleveland Browns and former Bear John St. Clair it was expected that Ogunleye would finally have another break through game and get some pressure on Derek Anderson. Instead what occurred was the complete opposite, St. Clair looked like a Pro Bowler against Ogunleye dominating him in the run game, and protecting Derek Anderson quite well in the game.
This in turn leads to the simplest of conclusions, we are watching the end of the Adewale Ogunleye era in Chicago and rightfully so. He has not been productive in sack totals nor even in the aspect of putting pressure on the QB or getting hits on the QB. Ogunleye has been stoned week after week and should honestly be benched for his lack of production.
Fortunately for him though there isn't a lot of talent on the strong-side pushing him to be better. There never has been anyone even remotely capable of pushing him to be a better player. Which means the Bears have completely missed on their evaluation of the left DE spot.
Even though Alex Brown has spent his entire career on the right side playing against the opponents' best pass protector, I would be an advocate for change. The change would be to move Alex Brown (who has always been a great run defender) over to the LDE spot and probably starting Mark Anderson or the newly acquired Gaines Adams on the right side in place of Ogunleye.
The likelihood of this ever happening is non-existent but at this point it would make the most sense given Anderson seems to be only one slightly capable of rushing the QB and is playing the run better than he has at any other point in his career. Somehow you would like to see a message sent to a player who so easily quits on his pass rush, instead Bears fans have to deal with the same maddening result on a an annual basis. No production and no pressure from #93, thankfully this disastrous experiment will end at the conclusion of the 2009 season.