Q & A with DL Coach Karl Dunbar

Heading into the '04 campaign, the defensive line was considered a question mark. However, the rapid progression of Tommie Harris, trade for Adewale Ogunleye and emergence of Ian Scott put the doubt to rest.

BR: Can you evaluate the defensive line you inherited to the one that finished the season?
Dunbar: "I've been very excited. It's been fun coaching them. You've got a lot of great talent. The thing I think I took for granted was the work ethic of NFL players. These guys really work hard. I didn't think I'd get this type of effort day in and day out, but they really came to work and worked hard."

BR: Has any player surprised you?
Dunbar: "Ian Scott made the most progress during the year. He really surprised a lot of folks. He played hard and played well all year long. He's come a long way and being a fourth pick a year ago, coming out as a junior, he's done a lot of good things to help himself be a player in this league."

BR: Does it take longer for a defensive tackle to make an impact?
Dunbar: "It takes some time to play in this league at all. The more talent you have, the quicker you can get on the field. I coached a guy last year at Oklahoma State, Kevin Williams came in and started 16 games had 10.5 sacks and this year he's going to the Pro Bowl. I think each player is different. Tommie (Harris) was fortunate enough to come in a situation where we needed an inside guy because we got rid of some other guys and talented enough to play the position. He only had 3.5 sacks, but he did a lot of other things for our defense, as for causing havoc in the middle."

BR: How did the injuries hold the defense back?
Dunbar: "I think it all goes like a nose in your finger. You've got guys getting on the outside getting up the field and you've got guys in the middle pushing the pocket. If you see the games Tommie had success in we had (Brian) Urlacher in the middle and guys couldn't double-team Tommie cause they tried to get up to Urlacher and that frees him up. You've got (Adewale Ogunleye) Wale coming off the corner. The game we had in New York where we had all those guys (healthy) Alex got the four sacks, now Tommie chased the quarterback out of the pocket, but Alex cashed the check. So they all work together."

BR: The defensive line had 24 sacks this year, which is nearly double their production from 2003. How high are your expectations for next year?
Dunbar: "We have the talent. If God can bless us to stay healthy the sky is the limit. If you look at the talent we have and the things we're going to do on defense (nothing can stop us)."


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