D-line Shift is Coming into Focus

The defensive end flip has less to do with Alex Brown's injury and more to do with what the Bears believe Michael Haynes can do on the right side.

BR first reported Haynes move to the right side and now the true reason for the switch is becoming clearer.

Haynes is a bull rusher, but the oddity comes in the fact that despite being right handed his left arm is stronger. Coming off the left edge Haynes often felt out of step because he couldn't use his dominant side to his advantage in a power rush technique.

Now on the right side Haynes will be able to use his left arm to rush straight ahead, which the Bears hope will result in the sacks the defense desperately needs.

Haynes had 15 sacks and forced seven fumbles as a senior at Penn State. That success came at right end and being able to attack the quarterbacks blindside.

Being able to rely on his primary technique for getting to the quarterback should help ease Haynes mind, which has been a hindrance in the past.

"The problem and the good thing about Mike is the same thing, he's a smart conscious kid. That hurts him on one side and it helps him on the other side," said defensive line coach Karl Dunbar. "Sometime you'd like to have a kid that doesn't think and just goes. But Mike is a kid who is smart and can adapt quickly but sometimes he worries about things too much."

Whether Brown can be the run stuffer the left end traditionally has to be is questionable, but he's better at stopping the ground game than when he first came into the league. Either way the Bears appear to be willing to sacrifice run defense for a chance to put pressure on the quarterback.

Because of that philosophy Tommie Harris and Terry Johnson are already apart of the team's nickel defense and that will increase as quickly as they prove they're ready.

Claude Harriott has been a flop thus far and if things don't turn around for the fifth-round pick then he could be on the street. Alain Kashama, an undrafted free agent out of Michigan, moved ahead of Harriott on the depth chart until an ankle injury put him on the shelf.

Israel Idonije is ahead of Joe Tafoya after registering two sacks against the Rams. In the absence of Brown, Idonije has been working with the first string defense at left end. It will be hard to cut Tafoya because of his special teams play, but more sacks from Idonije could secure him a place on the 53-man roster.


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