Barber, Gholston, and Toeaina Chime In............
August 20, 2011 Barber looks to build on first outing
By: Larry Mayer | Last Updated: 8/20/2011 9:49 AM
Running back Marion Barber hopes to pick up Monday night against the New York Giants where he left off in the Bears’ preseason-opening win over the Buffalo Bills. The free-agent acquisition rushed for 37 yards on six carries versus the Bills, including runs of 11, 12 and 11 runs on the game’s only touchdown drive. On one play, Barber steamrolled cornerback Drayton Florence.
Bruising running back Marion Barber brings a new dimension to the Bears backfield.“That’s all I’ve been doing my whole career,” Barber said of his physical running style. “It’s not going to stop now.”
Barber spent his first six NFL seasons with the Cowboys after arriving in 2005 as a fourth-round draft pick out of Minnesota. Appearing in 88 games with 41 starts, he rushed for 4,358 yards and 47 touchdowns on 1,042 carries, a 4.2-yard average.
Barber was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2007 after rushing for 975 yards and 10 TDs on 204 attempts while splitting time with Julius Jones. Last season Barber rushed for 374 yards and 4 TDs on 113 carries.
Fresh start: Defensive end Vernon Gholston continues to try to make the most of his opportunity with the Bears. Selected by the Jets with the sixth overall pick in the 2008 draft out of Ohio State, the 6-3, 260-pounder was released in March after failing to record a sack in three seasons.
Gholston appears to be a much better fit in the Bears’ 4-3 defense than he was in the Jets’ 3-4 scheme. “It’s something I’m familiar with, kind of ran a little bit of it at Ohio State,” Gholston said. “For me, it’s just all about coming in and putting forth my best effort. The biggest thing is playing defensive end, having my hand in the dirt, playing outside again, just trying to contribute to the team.”
Gholston insists that his lack of success with the Jets doesn’t serve as any incentive with the Bears. “No, it’s no motivation,” he said. “For me it’s always a new start, a new beginning, and [I’ve got to] just make the best of it here.”
Inside presence: Defensive tackle Henry Melton bulked up to 295 pounds during the offseason in an effort to become an every-down player. Melton has been lining up with the No. 1 defense in training camp. Playing as a reserve in all 16 games last season, he recorded 17 tackles, 2½ sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
At the University of Texas, Melton was shifted from running back to defense after rushing for 432 yards and 10 touchdowns as a freshman on a Longhorns team that won the national championship.
“He’s an athlete who can bend,” said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. “And then it’s about speed and quickness over a guard because you have to win inside. You have to win inside and you have to win it with speed, not with so much power. To get there, you’ve got to win it with quickness. He’s got that nice blend.”
Mr. Versatility: Defensive tackle Matt Toeaina has been working at both the three technique and nose tackle positions in training camp.“It is difficult, but I think for me to be versatile like that definitely adds value to myself and to this team,” Toeaina said. “Wherever they put me, I better be ready.”
Last season Toeaina recorded 33 tackles, two sacks, seven quarterback pressures and one fumble recovery while appearing in all 16 games as a reserve. Prior to emerging in 2010, he was inactive for 30 of 32 games the previous two seasons with the Bears.
Toeaina credits Marinelli with helping him develop. “I’ve changed tremendously, especially with the addition of coach Marinelli,” Toeaina said. “He’s definitely utilized my skills and maximizing all my talents. That’s why I’m here today
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