Interior design

When healthy mentally and physically the Bears group of defensive tackles can be among the best in the league, but each has their own set of concerns heading into the 2003 season.

A few months ago it didn't look like Keith Traylor would be a Bear past June 1st, but he's still on the roster and will likely be for the remainder of the 2003 campaign. He has been cut six times during his 13-year career and nothing surprises him anymore.

"I feel a little better about being around, but when you've been around as long as I have you've seen it all," Traylor said.

With Bryan Robinson facing a possible jail sentence the team can't afford to release Traylor, who is still a productive player even at 33. He sat out the first week of spring practices because of what the coaching staff called a minor knee irritation. The 6-foot-2, 340-pound tackle practiced on a limited basis during the second week of workouts.

Defensive coordinator Greg Blache plans on rotating Traylor, Robinson and Ted Washington in run situations.

Robinson has started all but three games over the past four seasons. He led or tied for the team lead in tackles by a defensive lineman in 2000 and 2001 as a left end but was moved to tackle last season.

Head coach Dick Jauron singled Robinson out during the May mini-camp as a player who looked to be in outstanding condition.

"Physically, he's so far ahead of where he was a year ago," Jauron said. "He didn't have the strength (last season), but now he's back to where he was in 2001, so we're really optimistic for Bryan."

Washington missed 14 games last season with a torn ligament in his left foot and a fractured left fibula. He will be handled with care during training camp but hopefully be 100 percent by the start of the season.

"We'll use common sense," Jauron said. "But, on the other hand, Ted's a big part of our football team. He needs to be on the field as much as he can and around our football team."

To make the bigger Traylor and Washington more effective Blache is going to move Phillip Daniels inside along with Robinson in nickel and dime defenses, which should boost the pass rush.


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