Considering the Bear's play in Sunday's 19-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, it was a little like looking at a cracked glass with the contents spilled out all over the table and calling it half full. Still, the Bears' coach found his rookie defensive tackles' play a positive among other things afterward."> Considering the Bear's play in Sunday's 19-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, it was a little like looking at a cracked glass with the contents spilled out all over the table and calling it half full. Still, the Bears' coach found his rookie defensive tackles' play a positive among other things afterward.">

Bears defensive tackles make glass seem half full

CHICAGO _ Bears coach Lovie Smith likes doing what he calls "looking at the glass as half full." <P> Considering the Bear's play in Sunday's 19-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, it was a little like looking at a cracked glass with the contents spilled out all over the table and calling it half full. Still, the Bears' coach found his rookie defensive tackles' play a positive among other things afterward.

Second-round draft pick Terry Johnson, in particular, drew praise.

"I thought Tank was solid with his play," Bears coach Lovie Smith said of the rookie defensive tackle from Gary, Ind. Johnson made his first career sack in his second start, helping to halt an Eagles scoring threat on their first possession.

"I have to play more natural instead of like a robot," Johnson said.

Tommie Harris, the Bears' first-round draft pick, had four tackles, but his presence wasn't as obvious.

"I think teams respect Tommie's ability right now," defensive coordinator Ron Rivera said. "They run away from him a little bit and put him in a chase mode and that's kind of tough on him. But he's got to keep plugging because he'll get his big plays, as well."

No one was gushing excessively about the play of the Bears' defensive line, though. The Eagles' running attack accounted for 154 yards on 33 carries, a season-high for a Bears opponent.

"Tank has got to sure up everything," Rivera said. "The rest of his game has got to come along with his pass rush."

Johnson said there has been pressure on both he and Harris to grow up quickly.

"It's a situation when you have guys that you picked in the top two rounds, you want them to produce, so I have pressure on myself," Johnson said. "I definitely want to play better, but trust me, I'll be getting better and making a lot of plays."

With Alfonso Boone out due to a knee injury the past 2 1/2 games, both of the tackles have had more than their share of playing time.

"Our young guys are going to turn into old guys real fast because we're going to have a lot of snaps under our belts," Johnson said.

"As long as we continue to not lose focus, we'll be fine."

When other defensive starters, like Brian Urlacher, Jerry Azumah, Boone and Charles Tillman come back, Johnson thinks the defense should begin to make more big plays.

"When you have a lot of young players on the field sometimes, it's like, who do you turn to for that veteran leadership?' "So having those guys come back, and then we're all going to get better. That's reason for us to be optimistic."

Smith would call it looking at the glass as half full.


Bear Report Top Stories