Getting to Know Anthony Adams

After the season-ending injury to Tommie Harris in Week 13, the Bears proved to be dangerously thin at defensive tackle. And with Alfonso Boone leaving for Kansas City and Tank Johnson currently in jail, GM Jerry Angelo simply has to find some fresh trench warriors. Anthony Adams, a former-second rounder out of Penn State, is the first new addition.

Anthony Adams was trapped in a square-peg-in-a-round-hole situation in San Francisco, so coming to the Chicago Bears just might set him free.

Adams became the newest Midway Monster on Sunday, agreeing to a four-year contract after four seasons with the 49ers. He started 34 games in the City by the Bay, but he was not a good fit for head coach Mike Nolan's 3-4 scheme on defense and saw his playing time dissipate significantly in 2006. In 58 career games, Adams was credited with 134 tackles, 6 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 8 passes defensed.

He clearly did not leave his heart in San Francisco, but he should find Lovie Smith's cover-two system much more to his liking.

A second-rounder out of Penn State in 2003, Adams, is generously listed at 6' and 297 pounds. He has proven to be fairly durable in his NFL career to date, never playing fewer than 14 games in a season and suiting up for all 16 contests back in 2005. Known as a high-character and all-effort guy, he is a little shorter than your typical defensive tackle and has run into problems because of his comparatively small stature.

According to former NFL scout Russ Lande, offensive linemen can take advantage of Adams because of his height.

"Anthony Adams is talented, athletic, and competitive," Lande said. "He has what you want in those areas, but the problem is that he's a short guy at 5-foot-11-and-change. And no matter how well you play, if you are short, offensive linemen can wrap you up. They can literally engulf you, and I think that is part of the problem he's run into."

Tommie Harris and Tank Johnson -- last season's starters -- are currently listed at the top of the depth chart at defensive tackle, but neither of them is a sure thing at this point.

Harris is a two-time Pro Bowl selection and arguably the best at his position in all of football, but he tore his hamstring in Week 13 against Minnesota and was placed on injured reserve. He had surgery in Dallas and is expected to make a complete recovery, but he will likely not be at full strength until training camp in July.

Johnson recently pled guilty to parole violation and is currently serving a 120-day jail sentence. It's possible that he could be released early with good behavior, but it's safe to say that his offseason training regimen will be severely limited behind bars.

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Former starter Ian Scott is currently a free agent and has entertained offers from the likes of Minnesota and Atlanta, but there's still a chance he could re-sign with the Bears. Veteran Alfonso Boone, however, has already inked with Kansas City. Youngsters Dusty Dvoracek and Antonio Garay will certainly be in the mix in 2007, but Dvoracek missed his rookie season on IR with a foot injury and Garay was inactive most of last year.

It has also been widely speculated that GM Jerry Angelo will target a defensive tackle on the first day of next month's NFL Draft.

Lande believes Adams has the tools to succeed, but he must be fit into the proper system.

"For an athlete," Lande continued, "he is phenomenal. But I just wonder if he is best suited in a defense where his job is just to shoot gaps, get into the backfield, and disrupt plays. Not as a fireplug where he has to hold the point of attack. He is small already, and then when you ask him to stay home and take on and hold the point of attack, that's hard for a guy like him. I think he is better running to the ball. He could be a starter in the right scheme, but he is not a guy that every team that plays the right scheme would be pounding down his door to sign him."

Fortunately, shooting gaps is exactly what he will be asked to do in the cover-two. His main responsibility will be to occupy blockers so All-Pro middle linebacker Brian Urlacher can roam free and make plays from sideline to sideline. Although Smith's scheme does require consistent pressure on the quarterback from the front four, and rushing the passer is not Adams' forte.

Smith likes to rotate his tackles and ends on defense in order to keep them fresh for 60 minutes, so even though he won't be asked to start, Adams could play a significant role next season.

So long as he drops Keak Da Sneak in favor of Twista, he'll adjust from San Francisco to Chicago just fine.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and Editor in Chief of BearReport.com. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

Bear Report Top Stories