Defensive tackle Anthony Adams, who was picked up by the Bears during the offseason from San Francisco, came to Chicago for the opportunity to play. So he found it more than a little frustrating to be watching the action from the sideline during the season-opener two weeks ago.
"One of the toughest days of my professional life," Adams said before practice Wednesday at Halas Hall. "I'd worked hard in practice, and I definitely felt ready to go. But as a professional, what can you do? Go to the coaches and say 'Hey, remember me?" I don't think so. In my mind, that kind of action could be counterproductive eventually."
But Adams' situation quickly resolved itself when starter Dusty Dvoracek went down with a season-ending injury, putting Adams back on the field in the DT rotation. It was a situation that left Adams with understandably mixed feelings.
"Dusty is a character guy and a high quality player," he said. "He was doing an effective job for the team. It was bad to see him get hurt like that, particularly since he spent all last year on IR. But this is a professional situation. You need selective memory to be a successful football player. I put my personal feelings aside and stepped right into his spot against Kansas City."
It was a successful outing for Adams and an experience that helped him realize that he was exactly where he should be right now.
"I've been in the league a while," said Adams, who came to the Bears after four years with the 49ers, "and I know when a situation is right for me. There was no question at all that I belonged with the Bears. Even though it was difficult to leave the 49ers, I was looking forward to the transition. To me, coming to Chicago was a definite step up. Who wouldn't want to be with such a talented, high quality team?"
What stands out in Adams' mind about the members of his new team are the friendships, both on and off the field.
"There can be a transition problem sometimes when you change teams," he admitted. "It's hard to get the communication going on the line. That was never the case here, however. We clicked right away, and that showed on the field as well. We're a very close group. Every player on the D-line is so attuned to what his teammates are doing out there that we move in synch. That in itself is highly unusual, and it makes a tremendous difference in the effectiveness of the play."
Anthony Adams and Lance Briggs (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Just how effective the defense will be against a surging Dallas offense remains to be seen, but Adams has no doubts about the eventual outcome of this weekend's game.
"Bears win," he predicted. "Defense dominates, of course."
But getting the win could be a challenge, even for a player as confident as Adams.
"Nobody said it would be an easy contest. Just look at the Cowboys on offense: Tony Romo, Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn, Patrick Crayton, Julius Jones. You have to cover them correctly to shut them down. Then you have the young QB making a name for himself. Dangerous situation. You want to blitz, make him feel that pressure, get the tackles going on the line. Our secondary has the talent to take care of the rest."
When asked if a nationally-televised night game brings added pressure, Adams immediately agreed.
"Sure, it's tough out there," he said. "But that's what we're here for, isn't it? To show what we are capable of accomplishing. For the players, something like that is always an added incentive. You know other players are watching, so you crank it up a little. Nobody wants to look bad in a big game."
Between now and Sunday, Adams plans to spend considerable time studying film while munching his new favorite treat, sugar-free Gummi Bears.
"In San Francisco," he recalled, "they called me Lemonhead because I always was eating those things. I decided when I came here, though: new city, new team, new snack. Gummis all the way. These are probably better for me anyway. Not all that sugar."
And if Adams performs as well as he expects to Sunday night, Gummi Bears could be the new go-to fuel of the Bears D-line.
Beth Gorr has been covering the Chicago Bears for seven years and is the Author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.
Adams Picking Up the DT Slack
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