One of the buzz words at Halas Hall lately has been "accountability," as the leash for players that continue to come up short on their expected level of production appears to be getting shorter by the week.
Bears fans received yet another example Tuesday, as 2006 fifth-round pick and former Defensive Rookie of the Year runner-up Mark Anderson had his contract terminated. Just this past offseason, with Anderson a restricted free agent, Chicago tendered him to a one-year contract for $1.759 million that became 100-percent guaranteed once the 6-4, 255-pounder put his John Hancock on it – the former Alabama Crimson Tide still has better than $1.3 million coming his way from the organization despite his ouster from the Windy City. The front office has a lot of egg on its collective face after the Anderson decision, as he was originally kept in favor of Alex Brown, who was set free but now starts for the Super Bowl champion Saints.
After recording 12 sacks his first year and looking like a perfect situational pass rusher in coach Lovie Smith's version of the Cover 2, Anderson was never productive again and registered just 9.5 sacks in his last 50 games over three-plus seasons.
Replacing Anderson on the 53-man roster is fellow defensive end Charles Grant, a former New Orleans first rounder that had been playing for Omaha in the UFL.
For an insider's perspective on Grant and what he might bring to the Midway Monsters on defense, BearReport.com consulted with Adam Caplan, who is an NFL reporter for FOXSports.com specializing in player personnel, injuries and contracts:
Caplan Says: As his career progressed, Grant became a better run defender. In fact, that's why the Miami Dolphins signed him to play in their 3-4 defensive scheme. Grant was once an above-average pass rusher much earlier in his career, but he started struggling with numerous injuries over the years. He's basically a backup now. Grant should play left defensive end at this point, which is really where the better run defenders line up. He probably can give the Bears 10-20 plays per game.
JC's Take: The Bears look to be set in the starting lineup at defensive end, with Julius Peppers on the right side and Israel Idonije on the left, but they need a No. 3 option to come off the bench and provide a pass-rushing presence.
It was supposed to be Anderson, as he flourished in that role his rookie season because he was always fresh and didn't have to worry too much about stopping the run, but, as was stated earlier, he lost whatever he had back in 2006 that made him so special. Based on Caplan's assessment, Grant is more of a run defender these days than a pass rusher, which means he can step in for Idonije on the left side from time to time on running downs. However, in obvious passing situations, Grant doesn't seem to be the type of player – not at this point of his career, at least – capable of pinning his ears back and making a beeline for the quarterback.
If Grant doesn't end up helping, and the odds are stacked against him since he was banished to the UFL after the Dolphins cut him in September, it could be time for fourth-round pick Corey Wootton to make a name for himself on Sundays.
Does anybody else think Chicago's decision makers now finally regret saying goodbye to Brown prematurely?
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Scout's Analysis: DE Charles Grant
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