Mark Anderson’s Bears career may be just about over. Gaines Adams’ has never really started. Both get a chance to change that in these last two weeks of Chicago’s lost season.
Mark Anderson’s Bears career may be just about over.
Gaines Adams’ has never really started.
Both get a chance to change that in these last two weeks of Chicago’s lost season.
Anderson and Adams are expected to alternate at defensive end in place of the injured Adewale Ogunleye for the Bears (5-9) against Minnesota on Monday night and Detroit next week.
“We have a few defensive linemen that you could say deserve an opportunity to play,” coach Lovie Smith said Wednesday. “Normally that chance comes around. It’s their time now, and we’re expecting big things from them.”
Big things have always been expected from Adams, the No. 4 overall draft pick by Tampa Bay in 2007. Adams, a speed rusher who is built slimmer than many tight ends (6-foot-5, 258 pounds) showed some promise his first two seasons, with six sacks as a rookie for Tampa and 6.5 last year. But he was soft against the run, and the Bucs traded him to Chicago for a second-round draft pick after four games this year.
In his 10 games with Chicago, Adams has zero sacks, one solo tackle and three assists. Twice he wasn’t even activated to play.
Adams said he came to Chicago with modest expectations after making a rare in-season switch of teams.
“It’s the nature of the beast,” he said. “When it happens to a player, you’ve just got to cope with it and keep moving.
“I wasn’t looking forward to coming in and trying to start. That wasn’t no big issue for me. I was just trying to come in and learn the defense as fast as possible and try to help this defense.”
The 6-4, 255-pound Anderson was an immediate help as a rookie. He led the Bears with 12 sacks during their 2006 Super Bowl run, but has had only 7.5 sacks in the three years since, including one last year and 1.5 this season.
“I don’t know why I don’t have more,” Anderson said. “Sacks, they come and go. It’s been a couple of down years for me. I’ve just got to stay positive and keep pushing. The ball will turn if you have faith and keep working.”
This is his chance to make it turn.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Anderson said, “but the main thing is we want to get a win. We’ve been struggling.
“I want to finish strong, try to go out there and make some plays for the team and try to have some fun. I would like to finish on a great note.”
Adams knows he’ll get plenty of chances in the future, since the Bears invested next year’s second-round draft pick in him — their top pick, since they had already included their 2010 No. 1 in the Jay Cutler trade. But he’d like to go into the offseason having shown Chicago a reason for hope.
“I have high expectations for myself,” Adams said. “The way things have happened, it wasn’t the way I expected, but it happened. I’ve just got to be a man and keep going.
“We feel like we can get this defense back the way it was. And that’s the plan. We’ve got two games left. We’re just trying to come out and put the best performance we can on tape. That’s what it boils down to: When you get the opportunity, make the best of it.”
Matt Trowbridge can be reached at: 815-987-1383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.