Chicago Sun-Times

Sapp plans to join Marinelli in working with Tommie Harris

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Warren Sapp, the future Hall of Fame defensive tackle, has long credited Rod Marinelli with his success in the league. He joined Mully & Hanley this morning on the Score, 670-AM to talk about Marinelli and the Bears' prized defensive tackle Tommie Harris.

Here's part of the interview with more coming later:

WHAT ARE THE BEARS GETTING IN ROD MARINELLI?

WS: The architect of the one of the greatest pass rushes the NFL has ever known. We went on a string of 70 straight games with a sack. It was all of us. That was our little string. Him, it was all of us. We attacked quarterbacks like it was nobody's business. I just spoke to him the other day. He said, `Yeah, it's going to be fun again. Here we go.' He has a good group and he's excited. I spoke to him [Tuesday] night and said he was packing up and going to Chicago today. Look out Windy City, here comes the man.

IS IT THE X'S AND O'S OF ROD MARINELLI OR IS IT SOMETHING ELSE?

WS: No, it's the passion. It's his conviction. You don't see many men stand and do what he did up in Detroit, going 0-16 and people attacking him and talking about his daughter and different stuff. He's a man of dignity who served his country in the Vietnam War. I love the man. I absolutely adore him because he took me on a path to greatness and wouldn't let me deter off it even a little bit. After I won my defensive player of the year award, he looked at me said, `Let's see if your play can catch up with your athletic ability.'

I said, `What do you mean my athletic ability?'

He said, `What can you do?'

I said, `I can do anything.'

He said, `Well, let's see.'

I came back and up put 16 1/2 [sacks] so he'll challenge you in a way that just is going to push your boundaries. If [Adewale] Ogunleye and Alex Brown and Tommie Harris and the rest of them, [Israel Idonije] and [Marcus Harrison] and the rest of those guys up there buy into a system that lives off the front four, that's what the defense does, it lives off the front four. If they want that, greatness is right in front of them. Just go get it.

HOW DID ROD MARINELLI MAKE YOU A BETTER PLAYER?

WS: I tell you, it's boots on the ground. I went in there and we worked everyday. I was in there with Eric Curry and some of those old-school Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Santana Dotson, and Mark Wheeler, big grunt guys that held up the place, did a great job. It is what it is. We were going a different direction. We started doing those pass-rushing drills where we were hanging and on our toes and we came out like the third day in a row and we were all looking at each other, me, Regan [Upshaw] and all those young guys like, `Yeah, let's go!' They looked at us, and turned to Rod and said, `Are we going to do this every day?' That let's you know who wants it and who doesn't, trust me, my friend. We used to call it 30 minutes of hell. It will be an absolute grind the first 30 minutes of practice because you have to put the work in on the practice field to be able to go out on Sunday and have the type of fun that defense will allow you to have as a group.

TOMMIE HARRIS HAS THE KNEE ISSUE AND WE KNOW HIS PRACTICE WAS LIMITED DURING THE WEEK. HOW DOES HE GO THROUGH THE 30 MINUTES OF HELL THAT MAKES YOU THAT PLAYER ON SUNDAY AND YOU HAVE THE KNEE AND YOU CAN'T GET THAT THING RIGHT?

WS: I guarantee you he is going to be healthy this year and if he's not, it will be obvious. You have to put him together before he gets there. Rod will do a great job with that. He's always done a great job with me because I had a little trick knee sometimes and I didn't practice at times but you know when you need to grind and the grind happens. I talked to Tommie the other day and I told him, `Me and you are going to start this offseason as soon as I get out of Tampa [after Super Bowl XLIII] buddy because the under tackle position is something that not many people even want to be talked about because it's not a defensive tackle and it's not something else, it's an under tackle, a unique guy that goes both ways, that does special things. I only know two other ones other than myself and that's John Randle and Keith Millard that even consider themselves as under tackles. If you want to be in that class with me and those other two dudes, we're going to have to look each other in the eye and we're going to have to talk about this the right way and see what he's thinking. Because if he's not thinking about it the right way, with me and Rod, we're going to get some work out of Tommie, I guarantee you this because he's too good of a player to be sitting in that system looking like he's not a player.

SO YOU ARE GOING TO WORK WITH TOMMIE?

WS: I am going to work with him, yes.

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21 Comments

I can't wait to see what the Dline looks like after working with Rod!

Great stuff!

BTW, Warren Sapp is a future Hall of Fame defensive tackle. He's already been a Pro Bowler.

ok, now I'm a little scared. Warren Sapp, who is without question the best DT to ever play in this system, is about to work with Tommie Harris? This is going to be the year for him. Either he steps out as one of the greats in the game today, or becomes just another guy...

This bodes well, especially if Marinelli is going to make these guys do the 30 minutes of hell. Alex Brown is probably the only guy on the line who can survive it because of his relentless effort and style of play. But by July, we will either have one heck of a line, or one heck of an injured list.

I am looking forward to watching this. If nothing else, Tommie Harris should pick up a lot of information from Sapp. That alone can make him better than he has been. If Sapp got 16 sacks, Tommie should be able to hit 10 if he stays healthy. It would be nice to see someone on the line hit 10 again....

God bless America!!! Superbowl here we come!!

"Warren Sapp, the future Pro Bowl defensive tackle..."

Biggs, I think you meant future HOFer.

Sapp says, "I guarantee you he [Tommie Harris] is going to be healthy this year..."

Sorry, but that's an empty guarantee. Each year we hope Harris is healthy and each year it's the same with injuries. Harris himself has admitted that he will never be 100%. #91 has no problem with playing the DT position. Why else would he have been voted to multiple pro-bowls? He already knows what to do and how to play. So in reality, how is "better coaching" going to help this guy out when health is the primary reason his play has dropped?

Does this mean Sapp is joining the Bears coaching staff, of is he just throwing glitter with pompoms?

I think this is all going to work out Rod brings alot to the team I think that Lovie will be a genius or a flop If it works out or not.

This is by far the best news. The sky's the limit if Tommie can perform like Sapp....look out QB's. The Bears do not have to pay Sapp, he knows Rod and Lovie very well. He wants to come in and help. This sounds GREAT.

GO BEARS.

I'm pumped! I think what's happening is Sapp wants to help Marinelli regain his reputation. The entire line is going to get better. If Harris can't keep up, I have a feeling they will find someone who will. Sorry Creighton, looks like another Buc has joined in the fight.

OMG, its officially a circus. This whole team is in disarray. A patchwork of bandaids and duct tape to compensate for an awful front office and coaching staff. We might see initial improvement but its all going to come apart at the seams at some point. Not too far down the road we're going to be the laughing stock of the league.

Wow! Not trying to get too excited, but that just gave me goosebumps while reading it.... Lets hope it goes even half as good as it sounds!

God Bless America! God Bless Rod! God Bless Sapp! Go Tommie Go!

I think Sapp is board and wants to Coach this is a great way for him to get his feet wet, before Lovie hires him to assist Rod.

Holy #&@$ they really have become the Tampa Bay Bears. Unless Sapp can explain why Harris gets days off on a regular basis from practice and unless Harris can get in shape this off season, he will be what he was this year. A declining DT with a bad knee.

Whats next? Is Dungy going to show up and show Lovie how to coach the Tampa Bay Bears. We are the damn Bucs now and everyone is happy about it. Yeah the Bears are dead and we are the Bucs. Pathetic. Unless Dungy is the new head coach this team will be bad next year.

YESSSSSSS!!!!! I am absolutely STOKED to hear this!

And to those who are not glad about this move, I have to ask, WHY? We're talking about a sure fire Hall of Fame DT from the Tampa 2 (the scheme we use,) coaching a DT who has tremendous talent, but gets hurt. Tommie is really competitive, and I think he is going to really benefit from both Rod and Warren coaching him. Yes, I realize that perhaps I'm getting a little too excited about this news. But it's hard to contain my enthusiasm when I hear news like this.

Finally some hope for a revitalized D... Marinelli, a great D line coach AND an outstanding future hall of famer working together to weld a stong base for a defense. Just remember the concept that games are won on the line of scrimmage.

Singletary had Hampton and McMichael to allow him to move as he needed. Now maybe Urlacher will get the same kind of support. hopefully the D backs will take primary responsibility of the backfield, and the linebackers will be able to worry less about covering the entire field.

Theres no reason to think Tommie Harris can't still play some good football for the Bears, even Warren Sapp played on a bad knee, this isn't uncommon for linemen. Most players take about a year to get back to playing like they did before arthroscopic surgery, much like Harris had last winter. If Harris were a 10 yr vet I might be worried, but he has only been in the league for half of that time. Also, as the year went on, Tommie Harris play got better, he wasn't a 1st team alternate in the pro bowl for nothing. I think with a healthy Tommie Harris for an entire season next year, along with Rod Marinelli, Chicago should play a lot better football on the defensive side of the ball next season GO BEARS!!

Thats great ....as long as warren dont give him his attitude! srry sappy but u thought u stuff didnt stink....and im sure after the game it did!!!!!!

Everytime I scroll past this picture of Sapp it cracks me up, how appropriate his mouth is wide open which is what it was when he played and has been since he's been on MFL network....Funny guy great player and could offer some solid insight to Tommy's career.....Thought his play coming down the stretch was solid as it looked as if he was finally getting his legs under him, plus you can not under estimate the improved play of both Harrison and Adams on the field adding to his play on the field. Look for major improvement from him next season, but we still need to add a young hungry body to the mix, and this draft has some potential to do just that !

Yeah Sapp is great but he doesn't just want to help Harris he wants to change him to an Under Tackle. Thats a pretty rare thing right there. Change the way he plays and attacks, gotta be in the QB's face all day long, gotta fast and you gotta be strong. I don't know how fast he can be with his legs.

Dude, Warren Sapp is trying to make his protege.Thats a huge compliment to Tommie that Warren thinks he has what it takes.

30 sacks by the line should be a given with Rod coaching and Warren helping.

`Me and you are going to start this offseason as soon as I get out of Tampa [after Super Bowl XLIII] buddy'

Thats the part I liked, as I don't really believe the D had a good off season workout last year, hopefully URL will FINALLY work out again maybe hopefully, and earn his paycheck like Briggs did

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on January 14, 2009 8:34 AM.

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