Camp Q&A: DE Mark Anderson

Did Mark Anderson simply spoil the Chicago Bears back in '06, when he recorded 12 sacks as a rookie fifth-round pick out of Alabama? Anderson chatted with JC after practice Wednesday in Bourbonnais.

John Crist: It certainly appears like you and Julius Peppers aren't doing as much flip-flopping as you were in minicamp and OTAs. Are you starting to settle in at the left defensive end position, or are we still going to see you two guys moving back and forth liberally?

Mark Anderson: We're just working and trying new stuff right now. We're still going to move around. We don't know what side we're going to end up on. I'm more of a right end. I like playing right end, so I've just been getting a lot of work on the left side and trying to get used to that side. And then when the season comes, we're going to be able to move around.

JC: Offensive linemen talk about being right-handed or left-handed, and that can sometimes help or hurt when being asked to block from the right or left side. If you're right handed, it might be easier to block the right side. As a pass rusher, does it matter if you're a right-handed player lining up on the left side?

MA: It's really just what you're used to. At college I played right end, and so that's just what I'm used to. And then when I got in the league, I had to play both sides being a third guy and rotating, and I had to get used to playing both sides. And now I just felt like I could focus more understanding the left side, rushing on the left side just like I had been on the right so I could balance out.

JC: Did you spoil this team as a rookie? You came out of nowhere to record 12 sacks, and everyone has been wondering where that level of production went the last three years. Were you simply too good too soon?

DE Mark Anderson
Scott Boehm/Getty

MA: Really, part of it is just reps. I really didn't have that many reps. Probably the second year, I had an opportunity to do it again. The second year, I was still learning the game. That third and fourth year, I was more of a role player instead of an every-down player, so I didn't play all the pass rushes. I had to play every down, so it's just more reps. And so this year, I might have a little more of an opportunity to try to bring that same intensity that I had my rookie year and have fun with it.

JC: You lost both Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye from last season's team. I'm guessing the meeting room is a lot different than it had been in the past. What's it been like so far?

MA: It's not too much different. Them guys, they were great guys. Alex, vocal. Wale, he'd been in the league a long time and had a lot of knowledge. Now, we've got a lot of vets in there right now, and we're just having fun. So the meeting room, it's just all learning. Everybody wants to get better.

JC: The media is trying to build up the battle between you and Israel Idonije for the starting job. But at the end of the day, does it really matter who ends up on top? This defense always plays three ends and rotates them a lot.

MA: It really don't matter. The only thing is your name on the lineup or the bulletin [board] or whatever. But other than that, we rotate whenever somebody gets tired. We're going to all end up having around the same amount of snaps, because if somebody gets tired, the next person got to be ready to roll. Because you've got to be on the roll every time.

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John Crist is the Publisher of, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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