If Emery Really Knows What He's Doing He'll Read Bob Legere, not Haugh!....
Article posted: 4/22/2012 5:45 PM
Peppers could use some help on other side
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By Bob LeGere
After finishing 29th in the NFL in sack percentage, even with right end Julius Peppers getting 11 sacks and earning his seventh Pro Bowl berth, finding more pass-rush help is a priority.
Unrestricted free agent Israel Idonije was re-signed, and he’s a solid run defender, but the eight-year veteran had just 5 sacks at left end. The Bears’ defensive scheme relies on getting pass-rush pressure from the linemen, which didn’t happen consistently last season. Northwestern’s Corey Wootton, the 2010 fourth-round pick, hasn’t yet demonstrated that he can contribute and may need to step up this summer to earn a roster spot.
An undersized, situational rusher could interest the Bears in the draft, since they really like Idonije — at least on the first two downs. As many as 10 defensive linemen could be drafted in the first round, and there are a handful of intriguing pass rushers, including South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram, North Carolina’s Quinton Coples, Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus and USC’s Nick Perry.
Inside, the Bears do not have any impact players, although Henry Melton was second on the team with 7 sacks last season at the 3-technique-tackle spot. But Melton’s production was inconsistent. He had 2 sacks in the season opener, then got just 1 in the next seven games.
Matt Toeaina is stout against the run but doesn’t make many plays in the backfield. The Bears hope more playing time for last year’s second-round pick, Stephen Paea, results in more consistent production after he flashed some play-making ability as a rookie. Veteran Amobi Okoye was a valuable backup in the DT rotation last season, but he signed with the Buccaneers as an unrestricted free agent. Nine-year veteran nose tackle Anthony Adams was waived last month after five seasons with the Bears.