Adams Could Prove Key to Bears' Strategy

The numerous personnel changes Chicago' front office made this offseason, including signing 15 veteran free agents, reveals the team's thought process heading into the 2011 season.

The biggest decision in the minds of many Bears watchers, was the decision to part ways with 13-year veteran center Olin Kreutz, an unrestricted free agent who wanted $4.5 million for this season. The Bears drew a line in the sand at $4 million, and when Kreutz wouldn't blink, they went out and got Chris Spencer from Seattle.

Unrestricted free-agent nose tackle Anthony Adams, linebacker Nick Roach and cornerback/special teams ace Corey Graham were all re-signed and should play key roles.

Adams is glad to be back with the Bears after starting all 16 games last season.

"I didn't want to go anywhere else," Adams said. Coach (Rod) Marinelli and coach (Lovie) Smith called me and let me know that they wanted me here. That kind of eased the tension a little bit. I'm glad that they called me and told me that they wanted me back. But I already knew that anyway."

While athleticism and speed are valued in the Bears' Cover-2 defense, the scheme also needs a stout run stuffer in the middle, and that's Adams' wheelhouse.

Roach has started 30 games over the past three seasons and has been anointed the starter on the strong side. Graham has not played a lot in the defense, but he was the leading special teams tackler in the NFL last season with 22, based on press box statistics.

LB Nick Roach
Scott Boehm/Getty

Incumbent tight end Greg Olsen was shipped to the Panthers for a third-round draft choice in 2012, and he has been replaced by unrestricted free agent Matt Spaeth, the former Steeler, who is more of a Mike Martz type tight end. That means he doesn't have to catch the ball very often but does have to be a strong blocker.

Looking to address their dearth of big wide receivers, the Bears picked up Cowboys castoff Roy Williams and his former teammate in Dallas Sam Hurd.

Williams has a simple theory on how to put up big numbers in Mike Martz's offense, which he did in back-to-back seasons with the Lions in 2006 and '07, catching 146 passes for 2,148 yards and 12 touchdowns, the best two seasons of his eight-year career.

"Coach Martz's No. 1 rule is be where you're supposed to be when you're supposed to be there and don't fool the quarterback," Williams said of the Bears' offensive coordinator. "That's it."

Quarterback Jay Cutler has already called Williams a "go-to receiver," even though the 6-3, 215-pound former Pro Bowl wideout, who was cut by the Cowboys July 28, wasn't able to practice with his new team until Aug. 4.

The Bears have also picked up former first-round pick Amobi Okoye, who was cut by the Texans. He is expected to be in the three-to-four-man rotation inside.

The arrival of unrestricted free agent Marion Barber could spell the end of the line for Chester Taylor, was had a disappointing 2.4-yard average on 112 carries last season that produced just 267 yards.

But Taylor said he didn't wonder about his continued employment when he heard Saturday that Barber had agreed to terms.

"No, I don't wonder nothing," Taylor said. "I just feel like they added more depth in the backfield."

The Bears are still expected to bring in another veteran linebacker, if not to compete with Roach than to at least provide depth in a thin area.

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