The Bears Defensive Line: Talent Is Not Skin Deep

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Getty Images

When you think of the 2010 Chicago Bears' defensive line, the first player that probably comes to mind is Julius Peppers. While he has been worth every penny he was paid this season, he is not the only one who has been playing at a high level. The Bears' defensive line is very deep in almost every aspect. While there aren't household names in every position, each player has been really very solid. Let's start on the opposite side of Peppers shall we:

Israel Idonije:
Idonije was moved from defensive end, to defensive tackle, and now back to defensive end. Standing 6' 6", 270 pounds, he is a physical freak that is very quick for his size. He is having a break out season right now with 6.5 sacks, three pass deflections and two forced fumbles. Izzy started to break onto the scene as soon as Mark Anderson was cut from the Bears' roster . The national media has even started saying his name when referencing the Bears' defense. He plays the run very well and has a very good motor. On top of handling the defensive end position opposite of Peppers, he is also a star on special teams. He ranks top 10 in blocked kicks, along with Julius Peppers.
Henry Melton:
Getting into some of the more unknown players, Henry Melton, who was drafted out of Texas in 2009, has been moved inside to defensive tackle. He stands at 6' 3", weighing in at 260 pounds. He's a fast guy and was the backup running back his first two seasons at Texas. Henry recorded 16 touchdowns from the backfield. Melton is another player, who over the last 4 games, has really come onto the scene. He seems to be around the ball anytime he's on the field. He has 2.5 sacks over the last three games. Melton was on injured reserved with an ankle injury last season and never got a shot to show us much of anything. He has done a very solid job getting pressure on the quarterback and playing the run as well.
Matt Toeaina:
Toeaina was signed in 2007 by the Bears (originally drafted by the Bengals) and had never really gotten a shot to play outside of a few games in 2007. This season, he got a chance to get into the starting line up, playing both defensive tackle positions. His first sack of the season came against Philadelphia this past Sunday. Standing at 6' 2", 308 pounds, he is a big guy who can clog up the middle of the line against smaller guards. He has one sack and two pass deflections through 12 weeks this season.
Anthony Adams:
Adams has been 'Mr. Consistent' since he got into the starting line up. While he is not a flashy player, or a guy that the announcers will constantly mention, he brings it each and every game. Looking at his stat line, you wouldn't know it. He's a smaller guy - height  wise - standing at 6' 0" but he makes up for it in mass at 310 lbs. Against Philly, he forced a fumble and recorded a sack (his first of the year).
Tommie Harris:
Everyone and their grandmothers already just know how bad Tommie Harris has been over the last three seasons, and just how good he was prior to that. But even good ole Tommie Harris has been in on the action since the bye week. He was featured in on one of the most important plays of Sunday's game against the Eagles when he tipped a ball that led to a Chris Harris interception. While he's not the same guy he used to be, he's not completely useless right now. Every now and then we get that flash of the old Tommie, who was once the most devastating defensive tackle in the league. He may never become the guy he used to be, but he's showing some improvement. He benefits from having guys in front of him that can do their job and keep him fresh.
Marcus Harrison and Corey Wooton:
Harrison has kind of been a disappointment thus far in his career. From showing up at camp overweight and out of shape a few years ago, to playing bad on the field, he hasn't been what he was supposed to be. Harrison was active for just the fourth time this season on Sunday. Corey Wootton is a rookie with some real potential. A knee injury in 2008 made him have to stay an extra year in college. Had he not gotten hurt, he would have more than likely been a late first, or an early second round draft pick. He's 6' 6", 270 pounds, and in my personal opinion, a good year of hitting the weight room will help him out greatly. He's a guy to watch next year at training camp.
The Bears coaching staff likes to rotate their defensive linemen, and their depth gives them the ability to do so.
Side Notes: Each Bear starting defensive lineman had a sack against the Eagles. Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije are both on pace for 9 sacks this season.

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