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posted: 1/16/2013 5:30 AM

It's time for Bears to beef up defensive line

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  • What the Bears need now is more defensive linemen like William "Refrigerator" Perry.

      What the Bears need now is more defensive linemen like William "Refrigerator" Perry.
    File Photo By Mark Black | Staff Photographer


Every time Phil Emery begins to seem trustworthy, something makes you wonder.

That isn't an commentary on the Bears general manager's supposed three final candidates to fill the club's head-coaching vacancy.

Bruce Arians, Darrell Bevell and Marc Trestman -- in alphabetical order because how else would you rank them? -- are logical enough candidates, albeit eminently uninspiring.

The problem is that Emery reportedly would like the new coach to retain much of the incumbent defensive staff, including and especially coordinator Rod Marinelli.

These are former head coach Lovie Smith's guys, with his system, philosophies and weight requirements.

So, please, no.

When Emery was hired my hope was that he would be an ally in my movement toward big bellies on the Bears' defense, whether it be a 4-3 or 3-4.

Making me most envious during the first two weeks of the NFL playoffs were the snapshots of the Patriots' defense. Right there in the middle of the Patriots' line was Vince Wilfork, who is listed in the program at his junior-high playing weight of 325 pounds.

In the middle of the Ravens' defensive line was Baltimore's 340-pound Haloti Ngata. In the middle of the Packers' was Green Bay's 338-pound B.J. Raji. By comparison the Bears' defensive linemen look like the Radio City Rockettes.

Smith liked his tackles light enough to feel as comfortable sashaying down a runway in Paris as rushing the passer in Soldier Field.

As I have written often in this space, give me some body fat on my linemen over Smith's preference for a front four of Taylor Swifts.

Some Pro Bowl defensive tackles are in the 300-pound range. Henry Melton of the Bears is among them. Good for him. Congratulations, little guy.

But the Bears also have a collection of 300-poundish linemen who didn't make the Pro Bowl or stuff opposing runners emphatically enough often enough.

It would be nice if instead of a cornerback punching the ball out 20 yards downfield, a tackle forced a fumble near the line of scrimmage.

I would trade Melton this week for an oversized load who could occupy a large tract of land in the middle for the Bears.

This is Chicago. Aldermen aren't the only people who carry a lot of weight around here during winter. As mild as the past couple of months have been, it still would be wise to carry a few extra pizzas around your tummy to brace against December and January winds.

That's why Bears linemen have been known as Fat Freddy, the Fridge and Food Store OK, there hasn't been anybody nicknamed Food Store. But some day there will be if Smith's war on obesity ends.

Replace the Bears' undernourished linemen with body types like Ted Washington and Keith Traylor, who ate the Bears into the playoffs in 2001.

Or a Fat Freddy Williams, who helped the Bears win the NFL title in 1963, and Fridge Perry, who helped them win Super Bowl XX.

One of Emery's assignments is to close the gap with the Packers. One of the first steps should be to acquire a Raji replica.

Then get rid of the holdover tackles, the current coaches and most of all the Tampa-2 defense.

Doing so might set the Bears back a bit in 2013, but winning something this year isn't as important as winning everything sometime this decade.

Phil Emery needs to recognize that fat is where it's at in Chicago.

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