Chicago Sun-Times

Marinelli on Tommie Harris: "He seems pretty healthy"

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A week before players are due to report to training camp, Rod Marinelli says that Tommie Harris is ready to go.

The new defensive line coach and assistant head coach chatted with Thomas George at NFL.com and said Harris was not 100 percent last season when missed one game by injury and didn't consistently play at the dominant level the team had been accustomed to seeing at the center of the defense. Harris had five sacks, one behind team leader Alex Brown, and nine tackles for loss, third on the defense. But statistics are never the best measure for Harris' performance. It's about him being a disruptive force on the line, one that commands a double team often. When he's doing that, those around him are much better.

"Tommie is strong, motivated, bright, perfect for the system," Marinelli said. "He was banged up last year. He seems pretty healthy. He's done it. This group is going to compete. It is exciting to see them come together."

That is good news for the Bears, who would say Harris was not used sparingly in the offseason program, but smartly. We've written it here before, a practice some time between March and June isn't as significant as one in September. Not only is it going to be interesting to watch Harris when the Bears get going, we'll get a better indication of what the team has planned at the other tackle position. Israel Idonije played inside more during the spring than anyone expected. Now we'll now if that was just because guys like Harris were on the sideline, or if he'll play a big role inside after his contract extension.

Stay tuned.

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22 Comments

I'm as bullish about this season as anyone. But this one, I won't buy.

Harris is the most player on the defense and nearly everything revolves around his play. That's why I was overjoyed that the Bears grabbed Jarron Gilbert and Henry Melton in the draft, continue to bring along Marcus Harrison and may even cut Dvorcek.

Of course, Marinelli as a magician seems a little over the top as well.

But there's reason to be excited these days.

"He seems pretty healthy"? Oh man, that scares the @#%!& our of me!! If you look back somebody probably said that about Michael Jackson a couple months ago.

Not exactly a fire-breathing, bring in on, can't wait to turn him loose, type of evaluation that one would expect from a Dline coach talking about his best player. Brad do you know Marinelli well enough yet to say he is prone to soft talk with the media?

"He seems pretty healthy"... kind of some weasel words if you ask me. Shouldn't he be a heck of a lot better than "seems pretty healthy" at this point?

He's done as a dominant player. I think they're going to scrap the bottom of the barrel and get what they can out of Harris because they paid him so big. But Lovie has to know he can't get the job done with Harris right now.

I expect Harris to be dumped from the Bears in Lovie's final contract year, when he makes his last playoff push to get another contract.

Glad to hear it, Coach Rod, but it's easy to be healthy before the season starts, especially when you've been held out of practices. The important thing is can he remain healthy once the pounding starts. "He was banged up last year" - well, that's largely because he played a bunch of football games last year.
So I'm hoping he remains healthy enough to play like himself all season. But I don't think that's something we can be counting on.

Pretty healthy?? Not 100%?? Wow.. he better be healthy. We still have no idea what this big mystery injury is. Plus we dumped all this money into him. Tommie is talented..but he is a true mental case that needs to be prodded at all times. I still see visions of the Atlanta game when good ol Tommy picks up the fumble and then...then.. just tosses the ball away to an Atlanta player. Good grief.. WTH was that? Harris is just to prima donna for me. When you start skipping rehab sessions.. and the coach calls you out.. problem!!! If he does not rebound and have a big year.. time to ship him out. This drama has gone on tooo long. There are to many other hungry/driven players waiting to get there shot in the NFL.

Biggs-y: Any news from Halas Hall on who will line up with the starters at nose tackle 8 days from now? Is Marcus Harrison officially a nose tackle, or is he still working at 3 Technique.

This is obviously the most exciting pre-season that I can re-call. The organization has done all the right things. Coach Marinelli is the right guy for the defense; we have a QB; the addition to the O line is perfect; Olin has some strong help; linebackers addition is supreme and our receiver group will certainly be made by Jay.

We are looking forward to a Bear's season as never before.

Let's Go Bears!!!

Let's just say it's a good thing that Harrison and Gilbert are both getting time at the 3 technique....Pretty healthy is one of those statements where it's a non-statement more than a real statement. Either you are healthy and ready to go, or you are still working back to full strength. My guess is Tommie is the latter, even after a full offseason of "taking it easy."

Nice to see he and Vasher earning those big contract dollars they got....If you add in Hester, who at least is showing improvement, and Urlacher, who had a bad back and neck going into last season, Briggs is the only player who seemed to be earning his paycheck of the recent extensions.....

Harris may be gimpy at best. I might go a bit mental if I was touted as the best 3 technique in the game with a very promising future, only to have my knee go out. I hope he's got something left, but the guy can't ever practice. Offseason, preseason, or during the season. I'll take any decent production he can give, but the Bears better start looking elswhere.

This discussion points out one of the major reasons why Lovie Smith's defense is not a sound one. Instead of using a team concept, this defense relies far too heavily on a few players to play really well: the under tackle to disrupt the offensive line, the strong safety to fill gaps and stop the run, and the middle linebacker to be all over the field. I'd much rather have a Jimmy Johnson or New England type of defense that employs a team concept, so that if some players go down, as is inevitable in football, it's not a disaster.

I'd say "pretty healthy" could be an honest assessment about the health of any player in the NFL right now. If Tommie Harris is "pretty healthy" then I'm "pretty happy".

I too would like to see more of Marcus Harrison and they can cut Dvorcek any time now.

If Tommie Harris is not playing in every game and at a high level this year then you can officially stop counting on him to be a key part of this team and move on.
If you can part with Mike Brown then you can certainly do the same with a player who contributed far less.

The very instant somebody compared Tommie Harris to Warren Sapp, my reaction was to ask when the Chicago Bears would add an Anthony McFarland.

DT's who can be disruptive in the pass rush are great, but Harris is undersized, not the strongest DT in the game and is being asked to take double teams. "Banged up" seems to be the perennial state of being for a player asked to do that every snap he's on the field. A knee issue is nothing I would ever criticize a guy about unless he avoids rehab, Harris never had contorl over that sort of thing.

There were a lot of things to dislike about Dick Jauron, but his willingness to throw ginormous guys like Keith Traylor and Ted Washington into the center of defense was not one of them. Ever since Lovie Smith arrived, I've been wanting the Bears to do all they can to acquire a DT who takes up a ton of space and simply takes up space. The Colts have tried twice since 2005 to do this with trades for Corey Simon and, what a shocker, Anthony McFarland.

WrigleyFieldBear has a strong point. The Bears don't have a second Tommie Harris. The Steelers have one of the best nose guys in the league in Casey Hampton, but since his job involves quite a few injuries, the Steelers have Chris Hoke, a reputable nose tackle who would start in other teams' 3-4s, there to back him up. Hard to tell a difference in the final outcome of a game based on which one started the game.

Brad,
Is there any way the Bears use a Shaquille Oneal tactic with Harris and let him rest, rehab, and workout the first half of the season, then bring him in for the homestretch and the playoffs? I know a lot of fans would be pissed by that because of his salary, but I'd rather have a healthy Tommie when it matters, not in the beginning of the season.

I don't buy it...

I would be more prone to believing that he's doing the best he can for a 26ish year old d-lineman with the body of a 37 yr old who blew out his knee and hasn't been able to come back from it.

I hope he holds up though. He was a great player.

Marinelli is lying through his teeth and the Bears defense is in trouble. Angelo thought he got a bargain on this kid when he dropped in the 2004 draft burt other teams knew to keep away from him sense his knees were bad and he was an injury concern. And yes, wile he can be the best DT when healthy, he hasn't been healthy and he'll never be 100%. Angelo and Lovie are probably kicking themselves knowing that they won't get a return on there investment with all the money they through at him. And if they really beleive that Rod Marinelli will make Harris get back to form like in 2005 then there only hiding from reality. It won't work. Right now we have question marks at saftey, DT and WR but thank god for Cutler and Forte. Even with all those question marks we should be better than last year just by the Cutler trade alone. I'll say 10-6 for the season and maybe an apearance in the NFC champoniship.

Hey brad no news from KC Joyner today? What a shcok. That must be some kind of record for you.

I agree 100% with Arlen, the Bear's need bigger D-line man especially at the tackle position. They way they think Albert Hanyesworth type wouldn't work and I think it's two ways to be disruptive quick and fast or big and strong. The Vikings play cover 2 but their tackles are big ( williams wall). A change in philosophy is in order!

I noticed tommie likes to launch himself like a missle straight into the backfeild and still showed quickness last year but O-lineman where pushing the missle into the ground and he was'nt recovering in time to distrupt the play. Hopefully Marinelli has some new moves and fundamentals to counter opponents in this chessmatch we call football. go tommie!

Come on guys, let's have a little faith. You do what you can with what you got, and right now the Bears have Tommie Harris, and he's a very good player when healthy and motivated. Let's not forget that.

DTs are rotating in and out all the time, so the reserves will get their chance (as they have been). I just hope the coaches will give Harris less snaps and plan a better rotation, so the other guys will get enough shots and so Harris is fresher throughout the game and throughout the season.

He is hurt every year I think we trade him for some one like brandon marshall or Boldin.

"By Creighton on July 23, 2009 4:33 PM
Marinelli is lying through his teeth and the Bears defense is in trouble. Angelo thought he got a bargain on this kid when he dropped in the 2004 draft burt other teams knew to keep away from him sense his knees were bad and he was an injury concern. And yes, wile he can be the best DT when healthy, he hasn't been healthy and he'll never be 100%. Angelo and Lovie are probably kicking themselves knowing that they won't get a return on there investment with all the money they through at him. And if they really beleive that Rod Marinelli will make Harris get back to form like in 2005 then there only hiding from reality. It won't work. Right now we have question marks at saftey, DT and WR but thank god for Cutler and Forte. Even with all those question marks we should be better than last year just by the Cutler trade alone. I'll say 10-6 for the season and maybe an apearance in the NFC champoniship."

"Hey brad no news from KC Joyner today? What a shcok. That must be some kind of record for you."

What's wrong Brando so desperate to be me that you changed your name to Creighton and now your pretending to be me? Hahahahaha this is worse than that movie "Single White female" Nice try freak, but you will never have the talent of the great one. Now go crawl back into your hole before I throw you another beating and you get so upset you become to affraid to blog under your own name again because of my regular humiliation of you. Oh wait to late. Freak!

Oh there is some humiliation going on alright, just not quite the way you picture it cowardly creighton. picture yourself pointing at a mirror saying i'm not stupid, you're stupid. kind of what is happening here everytime you post.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on July 23, 2009 7:56 AM.

8 days to camp: Olsen expected to break out at tight end for Bears was the previous entry in this blog.

NFL makes first day of 2010 draft meaningless to Bears is the next entry in this blog.

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