Chicago Sun-Times

Lovie sat Tommie Harris last week; wants to see him practice more

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Tommie Harris was right on the money Sunday after the game in Cincinnati when he said the condition of his left knee had nothing to do with him sitting out the game.

Lovie Smith confirmed as much at his press conference this afternoon when he said that it was his decision for Harris to sit out last week and the game with an eye toward getting Harris energized for the remainder of the season. The message Harris sent was very clear: If you want to play, you need to practice. Harris has been taking Wednesday practices off, and last week Smith said enough is enough, take the week off.

Harris told the Sun-Times on Sunday that it wasn't true he missed the game because of pain in his left knee.

"There isn't anything wrong with Tommie,'' Smith said. "It was more a coach's decision as much as anything. I thought we had better options.

"Could Tommie have played if I wanted him to? Yes, but I thought we could get a better Tommie if we let him rest.''

It marks two bye weeks in a span of three weeks for Harris. The underlying tone was Smith wants to see more from Harris on the practice field and on Sundays. It's a catch-22 the Bears and Harris are in. He needs to practice more to become better as a player, but he also needs to rest to preserve his left knee. A team source said he received extra treatments on his knee last week, and Smith said repeatedly he was dealing with pain. There is not a new injury.

Harris is expected to play Sunday vs. Cleveland at Soldier Field. Smith strongly hinted he will be on the practice field on Wednesday, a day he has been getting off this season.

At least it's been cleared up by both parties now. Harris sat out because Smith told him he was going to, and now the Bears are expecting much more.

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Tommie Harris will be cut after this season and will then flourish on whatever team signs him after the Bears.

That seems to fit the pattern of most other players the Bears get rid of.....

I dunno about that one, JohnF. I saw Tommie up-close at an event in the offseason. He was hobbling around like Fred Sanford. I think his knees are shot. This isn't a situation like Benson's or Orton's. Unless Tommie's knees somehow magically repair the damage that's been done to them since his college days I can't see him returning to his Pro Bowl form with any team.

What's going on here? First Smith says there's nothing wrong with Harris's knee and then he says repeatedly that Harris is dealing with a lot of pain. I think there is something wrong with his knee if he's playing with a lot of pain. Out of one side of their mouths the Bears say they give him days off to preserve him for Sundays and out of the other they say he has to practice and play his way through this thing. In any event, he is clearly not the player he once was and no approach they have taken with him has helped bring back his ability. You have to wonder if he gives them the best player at tackle right now. If not, the Bears are in a boat load of trouble.

I think it says it all when Lovie made the following quote:

"There isn't anything wrong with Tommie,'' Smith said. "It was more a coach's decision as much as anything. I thought we had better options."

Based on how poorly the defensive line played, that should tell you all you need to know about Tommie. Marinelli demands effort, hard work, and practice. If Tommie can't do that, then he doesn't deserve to show up on Sundays and give the half-hearted effort we have been seeing this season, and last season for that matter.

I would rather give Toeaina, Gilbert, Adams, Harrison, and Idonije the reps, since we know they are working hard, and seem to care about football. Players do not deserve to play football, they earn the right to do so. Other than drawing a fat paycheck, when was the last time Tommie had an impact on this organization? 2 years ago?


JOKE!!!!! This team is a joke. No wonder the players have totally tuned out Lovie and Co. Lovie and JA make their pre-planned BS press calls and then boooooomm.. Next week the blow up. How can the ownership not see this? This is a speeding car with nobody at the wheel. Time for a fan statement. Brad, how about another letter to the bears ownership.. please stop this. PLEASE!!!!! Bottom line is.. we shouldnt be surprised by this. Lovie has shown that he cannot make the player moves that need to be done. As a camp counselor he would rock, but as an NFL coach he doesnt have it. He needs to admit that and move on. God help us if we lose to the Browns...

Cut this guy now. Develope the other DTs to see what we have and sign anyone off the street who has two healthy knees. This is not going to turn out well. Stop the weekly pay check bleeding; why are they still paying this guy? He is finished.

The sad thing for a guy like Tommie is that once he loses his speed he has nothing left to give. Take for example Pat Williams up in Minnesota, he is 36 or 37 years old and still dominating. That is because his game is built around holding the point of attack and drawing the double team with his massive girth. A guy built like this, like many of us Bear fans got to enjoy with Ted Washington and Keith Traylor, can withstand injuries to there knees and legs and continue to be useful since they can regain there stregth and size and go back to doing what they did before with no problem. This is the opposite case with Tommie, who once he is injured and loses his speed and quickness it becomes almost hopeless to regain, and he does little else to provide what a defensive tackle is built for, which is stopping the run first. The mistake that took place with the Bears decision stems from paying a guy top dollar who relies on speed at a position that needs to be able to stop the run. Even if injuries happen, and they will, a big run stuffer in the middle will more than likely be able to contribute for a long period of time and help your team in many more facets than simply getting up the field quickly. Big DT's free up others around them to make plays, as well as "HOLD THERE POINT OF ATTACK" not just draw a double team.

Well said Mr. Holland...
I think if you took "Harris" off of his jersey and put another name on it, we would all consider this player a decent interior pass rusher who occasionally makes a play. His contract and past performance make us think otherwise.

Looks like you can add a DT to the draft day wish list. The defense could look very different next year. I don't expect Ogunleye back (or Harris unless he starts to produce) and maybe not even Mark Anderson. Could Vasher be cut? This looks not good.

It's a shame if Harris is done, because he could have been a great player. Unfortunately, his attitude seems more Mark Prior than Kerry Wood, and you can't excuse that. Shut him down for the year, let him focus on really rehabbing/strengthening his legs, and if he still doesn't look like Old Tommy next spring, cut him.

Thank God the rest of the D.line stepped up !

Tommie has what many sports medicine doctors refer to as Vasheritis. It's a fairly common disease in chicago where an athlete "gets paid", then rides the pine for a couple years. The only thing that's pro-bowl or all-star caliber is the wallet. Also known as Advanced Sorianolia, or a case of the Ceds...

If they cut Tommie, goes off and does well with another team then Bear fans will cry that they can't' develop players and why we didn't keep him around.

I am starting to wonder if the bears need to change the head coach and look at M. Shan, Cowher or Holgrem. It seems to me that the tampon 2 was a fad. the Bucs no longer use it. The only other team that might use it would be the Colts. We need a better O-line,d-line. It starts and stops there. Hopefully Papa Bear and Payton turned their heads during the game yesterday. Very upsetting, they showed no heart. it was like watching a senior team vs a freshman team.

Yeah Bill, I like the run stuffers in the middle as well,
I liked Wilfork in the draft..... :(

Strange goins on, TH has not really looked good anways so it appears TH has a worse knee than we thought. Sounds like a Cover up.
and with the way the D line responded it doesnt look good.

Listened to NFL tonight and they were saying that it's hard to Coach players that just arent any good. Have to agree, Lovie does not have much to work with.

I really appreciate the passive-aggressive coaching approach, Lovie!

HAHAHA! Marinelli demands effort and hard work??? Joe, you must have missed the last two seasons up in Detroit where the defense finished dead last in both years; especially the magical '08 season where the Lions set an all time record in suckdom with Rod leading the ship. Aww man, fans from other teams have to be laughing at us when we're pinning our hopes on position coaches.

To all of you saying, "Hmmm, maybe Tommie should be released at season's end if he doesn't shape up"...HELLO??? He has looked this bad midway through 2007. It has been a problem ever since and what was the solution? "Well, we here at Halas Hall think signing Coach Marinelli was our best move of the offseason." Ha! And the sheeple actually bought it. Rather than get a DT all this time since our main guy is suffering from a chronic injury, they change the position coaches. Well clap, clap, clap.

bearfab81, the Tampa-2 works just fine if you have the personnel to use it like Minnesota. With the Williams Wall and an elite pass rusher in Allen, they're just fine rushing 4. We of course don't have that and therefore have to blitz every down.

Hahahahahahahhahahaha...............Man, I just can't stop laughing at you losers!!The two highest paid players on your team suck!!! Rex Jr. 11tds-10ints...flashback city....Tommie G. Sanford. And the G stands for "Gonna miss another practice!"....hahahahahaha Packers in the Superbowl. Just wait til we kill the Queens Sunday!!! Why don't you clowns trade the rest of your draft picks for, wait he is already your head coach. ahahahaha

If we had 3 more minutes we could have won that Bengals game. We just simply ran out of time.

We play like the personality of our head coach! Laid back and effortless. In the 80's we played like our old head coach Mike Ditka, in your face and hard nosed. What a shame, this used to be a proud organization, now we can't even get our players to practice!!....I guess this Camp Lovie is catching up to tackling in training camp and practice equals no tackling in games!!!!!

Going into the season, I was optimistic that Tommie Harris would get back to being the player that earned three staright trips to the Pro-Bowl, it hasn't happened yet? I am now starting to think he's done.

There was a time when Tommie Harris was something special, that time has come and gone. When the Bears gave Harris his payday I was all for it. After all, the guy was the first Bear defensive lineman to make three straight trips to the Pro Bowl, and thats saying something. But in the end, the injuries have just caught up with Harris. Not every player can go 10 years plus in this league. Your avg player only has a 5-6 year shelf life of effective play. Its starting to look like Harris has just ran his course as an NFL player, it might be time to part ways this off-season, especially if Harris continues to struggle. Chicago brought in Jarron Gilbert via the draft, it might be time to start working with Gilbert at the three technique position.

Mike said: "Rather than get a DT all this time since our main guy is suffering from a chronic injury, they change the position coaches."

Mike, the Bears have brought in defensive tackles, as a matter of fact, they have the past two seasons. Marcus Harrison 3rd round 2008 draft, and this past april Jarron Gilbert with another 3rd rounder. Harrison might be a better fit at nose tackle, and give rookie Jarron Gilber a season, he could turn out to be a pretty good three technique for Chicago. Not all rookies can play straight out of college. Again, give Gilbert a year, he could surprise. You make it sound like the Bears haven't brought in any DT's when they in fact have. When Angelo brought Gilbert in he said the Bears see Gilbert as a three technque that can also play end. With the addition of Gaines Adams, Gilbert could now get some work at the under tackle position. Give him a season before saying Chicago has not brought in any DT's.

PackerBacker [disgruntled Rex/Bear fan] give it a rest. Grossman didn't work out, big deal. Chicago brought in Orton, who was way better. And now Cutler, who unlike Grossman has made a pro bowl, set a franchise record with Denver, and is completing above 65% of his passes, unlike MR 50% Grossman. Again, get over the Grossman thing, its getting kind of creepy GO BEARS!!

I agree that Harris's game is built on speed, but do you guys know anything about the defense Smith runs. Harris's position is the three technique position. He is not the nose tackle. The nose is supposed to be the run stopper. Harris plays the position Warren Sapp did in Tampa. Harris is suppose to penetrate with speed and quickness. Rush the quaterback and push into the back field to disrupt the play. No where in this scheme does Smith simply want Harris to hold the point of attack. We need someone to play like Harris did before. I think that is why they drafted Gilbert. He has that kind of speed, but he needs this year to develop.

Let's be honest there are some serious overpaid players by the Chicago Bears

Harris way too much money
Vasher Overpaid

Cut both to free up money and sign free agents
DLine is all about chemistry. Tommie doesn't practice so how can there be chemistry with the Dline. Cut him and start two tackles who can practice together and have chemistry.

Bowman is horrible start someone else why not Corey Grahm.

Have you ever seen Marinelli run a practice for his position group? have you ever heard any of his former players talk about him and his intensity? His 30 minutes of he!! is legendary among defensive linemen in the NFL, and the conditioning of his players is second to none. It had to be making him crazy that Tommie showed up on Sundays without putting in the work, and it showed in his results, or lack thereof.

While I agree that his tenure as a head coach was nothing short of a disaster, there is no disputing his passion, intensity, and drive as as defensive line coach. Like Norv Turner, his best role is not as a head coach. He is too detail-oriented, and couldn't step back and see the bigger picture, which is what a head coach needs to do.

We have a bigger problem than that with Lovie. He is too big picture, and too much a slave to his system. It is obvious that we can't stop anyone in the Tampa 2, but he will not adjust the scheme. All he does is add more blitzing, and make it even harder to play defense. Add in his desire for a conservative game plan, and teams bring lots of extra pressure, knowing that most of our pass routes are underneath or intermediate routes. Turk Schnoert blasted Dick Jauron for wanting a pop warner offense...We barely qualify for Tecmo Bowl on our inventive play-calling. Marinelli is not the problem. The scheme and strategy is the problem.

Well Guys did you really think Marinelli was God and he would take a bunch of average at best players and make them good???? Did you think Tommie Harris was done being a baby from his episode a few years ago????? Did you really think tha they would beat the Bengals and shut down Cedric Benson???? C'mon guys this is Chicago Sports teams. Players we take always end up being good players for other teams!!!

Dear Jerry Angeloose,

You can roll a dog turd in powdered sugar many times, but it still will not ever be a Jelly Donut. Someday you might need to ditch your famous philosophy of having awful offense is ok, and you win with defense and special teams only. Well it seems to me that all three suck....and for a team without a 1st or 2nd round pick next year, and who needs playmakers desperately you had better come up with a different plan.

Odd. I thought it was up to the coaches and trainers to determine who practiced and who was going to be held back. Is the media trying to create tension where there isn't any? I thought Lovie or somebody was saying before the season that they were going to try to keep Harris fresher longer.

I don't think Harris is a pro-bowl caliber player at this point, but he's still the best option we have at his position. Idonije does a pretty good job too, and he has his moments, but I don't think he can replicate the effect Harris has.

I know the Bengals game is not the best example, but without Harris, the Bengals Oline seemed to be getting to the LBs with relative ease. That wasn't the case against the Falcons.

It would be great if Harris could get sacks and tackles behind the line of scrimage and be disruptive and this and that, like he was a few years back. But if not, he can still be effective to a point without getting the stats.

Is he being paid too much for what he's doing? Well, yeah, maybe. But I don't believe cutting him now and putting in Gilbert or Toeaina would do the Bears any good; we'd just have a weaker D.

Tommie Harris is a cancer in the locker room a la TO. I think he is also mentally ill and needs a pyschiatrist. I am so tired about hearing about how he is not the same player as 2005, his injury against the Vikings that day at Soldier Field WAS a career ending injury, the Bears are just too dumb to realize that. He should have been cut like Tank Johnson a long time ago.

Still with that 3 tech crap Gilbert weighs 285 lbs and will be another light in the ass tackle to get blown off the line of scrimmage Sapp was a freak stop searching for the next Sapp and look for a blue collar run-stuffer. The Bears middle is soft as Charmin. This scheme is dead even Dungy was going away from lightweight tackles before he retired. Wnever learn around here how many whippins do we have to take, how many demoralizing games do we have to play before those idiots address the line of scrimmage. Forte has looked below avg. because he has no where to run, Cutler is running for his life and take 3 step drops nulliying the speed on the outside because he has no time. This fish stinks from the head down and until the GM and his entire staff are gone we will wallow in mediocrity at best.

I'm not sure Tommie will ever be the same as he was. It's too bad as he looked like, at times, a man playing amongst boys. He was beyond dominating early on in his career. It was just way too short of a time that could now be over.

On a separate note: my apologies to any other dissenters out there, but I remember being a lone voice after THE TRADE. I took a beating for stating what was clear to me . . . THE TRADE for Cutler was THE WORST IN TEAM HISTORY.

While I conceded, at the time, that Cutler was an upgrade over Kyle Orton, it wasn't by 2 firsts and a third for a fifth (we could have taken Johnny Knox with our own fifth rounder or our fourth rounder). Now, I'm not so sure he's an upgrade at all. Yes, Cutler has a stronger arm, of that there is no question. However, his decision making looks poor even on the 2 or 3 plays each game when he has ample time to throw. He seems to throw off of his back foot an awful lot. Many seemed enamoured with a guy with a rocket arm; no doubt he can be spectacular at times. The questions are: are we better off with him? Are we 2 firsts and a third for a fifth better?

I adamantly say NO! Maybe had the trade been for Carson Palmer I wouldn't be whining again.

Consider: Our OL is a shambles, with the DL not far behind (we haven't been near the opposing QB the last two weeks . . . and 37 for 189 for Cedric is inexcusable). The best way to build these, especially the OL, is through the draft, and particularly in the first round. Having used those draft picks for the best available (non-injured) OL could well have made Orton and the run game better. Now, we will likely need to rely on Free Agency if we are to rebuild the OL in the next 1.5 seasons. While the DL could get a boost from Gaines or the one of the rookies in the coming seasons, I'm not sold. Those are undersized guys who might do well if they were the only undersized guy on the line at a time.

However, when you give up 20, 30, 40 lbs at every line position when on defense, you get what happened on Sunday. Factor in the cover-no one defense and we are likely to get worse before we get better. I know 4-12 when I see it. Maybe that's a bit harsh but does anyone see this team better than 6-10 at this point?

This team neeeds to get real. We have two running backs? our lt can't block a pop warner football DE and our DT feels as if he doens't have to practicd because he is such a high caliber player. Cut him. Trade him. The Chicago Bear fans cannot live in fear of a player going else where and doing well. CB is doing well this year. Wait until next year. HOLDOUT. I"m Cedric Benson and I need more money because I had one good year since I was drafted in 2000BC. As far as Cutler goes. Does he have to block, rush the passer and play DB? Forte is scared. I saw the film He is not hitting the holes. I say spread them out, 4 and 5 wide receiver sets and throw the ball. The running game is a joke. And will someone light a fire under the oline? Lovie needs to say put up or ship out! This team is supposed to win not be a charity for players. I wish I got paid $$$$ to lose 45-10. We are not far from the Titans right now. Get some players who want to play.

Stop bash Marinelli, that team was sabatoged by their GM before he got there. I mena look at the lack of talent drafted by him. God it is worse than the JETS drafts from 1980-2000.

Packerslacker: get off our site, your lousy team also lost the the Bengals and at home on top of that! I don't care what your records is the pack stinks simple as that!, you better be happy we aren't playing you this week, after the butt whipping we took, seeing your ugly green and gold putrid slime would be just the cure for this team....just do your job this week and bring the Vikes back to the division, don't go 0-2 BUM!.....

I was pissed off and was going to stay off the blog this week, until I saw your lousy azz on the blog, got my juices flowing again, I'm ready for some football, let's pound the Browns...Go BEARS

deputydawg, what would you have me do? Dude, I'm all for the two gap pluggers up front on the defensive line. I would love for the Bears to bring in some 330lb monsters up front to eat up some space to allow our linebackers to roam free. But unfortunately, with this current regime, not gonna happen. Thats not the type of scheme the Bears deploy. Its all about speed with the one gap penetrators up front. As a fan, like it or not, your at the mercy of your team and the type of scheme they choose to deploy. For me to sit here and go on about the type of players I as a fan would like to see on the field is basically pointless. Its like beating a dead horse, it feels good, but in the end, the horse doesn't really feel anything.

As a fan I gotta go with what my team is doing. As long as they run this scheme Im gonna pull for it and hope they bring in the players that can make it go. Its what the Bears do, and as a fan Im gonna pull for it. Again, what else would you have me do as a fan. And right now its the one gap penetrators up front. Yeah, Jarron Gilbert is 285lbs, but give him a year in an NFL gym. I bet by next year he'll be in the 290-300lb range. And at 6-5 290-300lbs isn't exactly tiny. Thats actually pretty good size for a DT. Also the Bears brought in Marcus Harrison 6-3 310lbs, he aint small. Give these guys a season, Harrison looked pretty good when he was at the nose position. Gilbert was a beast in college, the guy can penetrate from his DT position putting up 22 tackles for loss as a senior to lead the nation. Will he be able to do it in the pros? Who really knows. Give him a season to find out before calling him to small and a bust. Harrison at 6-3 310lbs at the nose position flanked by Gilbert at 6-5 290lbs could be a pretty good inside combo for the Bears. And actually give the Bears pretty good size inside.

JPCZ, the Cutler trade was a good one. Cutler is completing 65% of his passes and is on pace to throw for 3800 yards with 28-30 td passes. I liked Orton, but theres no way Orton could have put up those type of numbers. Cutler is not the problem on offense, its the offensive line. Chicago needs to make a change at left guard. Beekman in for Omiyale. I see Omiyale allowed the lone sack in the Bengals game. They gotta get him out of there. Cutler is a good QB GO BEARS!!


I understand your point and don't disagree that Cutler is a good QB (certainly by Bears' standards). The point is that he isn't getting the chance to throw downfield much, and when he does, he often makes bad decisions. Yes he's completing 65% and is on pace for 29 to 30 TDs. He's also on pace to throw 26-27 INTs and is at, or very near the top of the league, in Red Zone TOs. He killed us against gb and Atlanta. I know over the long term the good will outweigh the bad, but I'd have rather seen us use the picks on OLs. Factor in other silly trades and we'll go 2 years with no first or second round pick. That is really, REALLY going to manifest itself in 2-3 years.

O Line has to change or Cutler will not make the season, he is running for his life every week.

Kevin, you mentioned it first if I recall but I agree the O line needs change and it needs it now> Pace is looking very slow and is getting beat at the line of scrimmage, his run blocking is not what it used to be nor is his pass blocking. Chris Williams need to move to the left side with Shaffer taking the right side OT. I know JA and Lovie have too much invested in Pace so they will probably stay with him but I think it is now time to get Williams in the position he should be in for many years and that is left tackle.

Beekman needs to start a left guard, Omaliyale is getting whipped weekly, it is embarrassing to watch for the guy. He most likely is a tackle not a guard, too much finese not enough power and punch.

The new line of Williams LOT, Beekman ROG, Kruetz C, Garza ROG and Shaffer ROT will make a difference in the run game and has to be as good or better in pass protection.

JA and Lovie, do what is right for the team and quit being political because of the money paid these guys... Changes are needed on the O line and they are needed now.

The D line is another story for another day, I have not given up on the D. Vasher at Free Safety is better than Manning, he just is not getting it done as FS. Nickel and kick return are his gig and should remain so. Vasher might be good at Free Safety although what has happened to Graham, he is big, he tackles and has speed whatever happened to his opportunity at Free Safety?

Payne is sloppy and makes mistakes and penalties way too often, keep Alfalava as strong he will be a good one for a long time.

Two weeks now the Bears were under prepared, the coaches did not make adjustments that did any good in either the Atlanta or Bengals game.

As for Lovie, well, literally the Bears were not prepared after the bye and were unprepared for the Atlanta no huddle and when lining up the D were confused and were burned more than once. Did anyone on the team think that letting the opposing teams know up front that Tillman would shadow Ocho was just a recipe for disaster. Mix it up, don't be so predictable, the Bengals and Falcons had a better idea of what the Bears were going to do, even better than the Bears themselves.

Year end it will be time to make changes, Lovie and Turner should be gone plain and simple unless they make the NFC championship game at a minimum, any less send them packing. I am sure the McCaskey's will just sit back and let them coach, why spend the $11 Million and who cares about the city of Chicago and its long suffering fans of the BEARS.


In case my last post wasn't clear . . . you are 100% SPOT ON about the OL. If we were better up front Cutler would look much better.

KA my friend that is blind optimism NFL gyms and the like this GM has provided this staff has not improvised. They are taking a weekly {weakly} butt- whuppin up front on both sides of the ball. Look around you my friend this scheme is gone the route of the dinosaurs and the refuse to upgrade. It just might take a little effort but isn't that why they get paid like they do, to win no just be bull-headed. I have been a loyal but sometimes disgruntled and this is sickning.

The Bears might want to find a new defensive scheme to run now that Urlacher is out and Roach is starting at the Mike. Roach doesn't have the awareness and speed to drop back to the middle of the field, or the size and strength to step up and stop the run, and the Bengals exploited that last week. They must have seen something on film, because every time Chad OchoCinco would make a cut over the middle, he would immediately throw his arm up calling for the ball before even looking, knowing he would be wide open. Something needs to change, because if more teams pick up on how to beat the bears cover 2 without Urlacher in the lineup, our defense will once again be bottom 5 in the league.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on October 26, 2009 4:00 PM.

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