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What roles will new d-ends play?

Posted Mar 26, 2014

Senior writer Larry Mayer discusses the roles the Bears' four new defensive ends may play, how Jared Allen has fared against the Bears and Bears players who have worn No. 69.

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

I'm extremely excited about the Bears signing Jared Allen but am wondering what roles the four defensive ends they've added this offseason will play this year. Do you see a couple of them sliding inside and playing tackle in passing situations?

Dave F.
Highland, Indiana

I think it's too early to definitively say exactly what roles Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Willie Young and Israel Idonije will fill in 2014. (And don't forget David Bass, a young defensive end the Bears are high on.) Allen is certainly the most accomplished pass rusher of the group and I suspect will be an every-down starter. Houston and Idonije are both stout ends who have also played inside, so I think it's possible that we could see four ends on the field in some passing situations with Houston and Idonije lining up at tackle with Allen and Young at end. But again, let's wait until training camp and the preseason to see how the players are being used and then it will be much easier to decipher what their roles are going to be this season. The bottom line to me is that general manager Phil Emery has completely renovated the defensive line with quality depth just as he did with the offensive line a year ago, and that's even before the draft has taken place.

It seems like Jared Allen always got a ton of sacks against the Bears. Would it be correct to assume that he has more sacks against them than any other team?

William L.
Buffalo Grove, Illinois

It's very close, but Jared Allen actually has more sacks against the Packers (16) and Lions (15.5) than he does versus the Bears (15). However, his 41 tackles against the Bears are the most versus any NFL team. Interestingly, Allen has sacks against 29 of the 32 NFL teams with the only exceptions being the Browns, Saints and Seahawks.

I see that Jared Allen will wear No. 69 with the Bears as he did with the Vikings and Chiefs. I guess it was pretty convenient that Henry Melton left the team to sign with the Cowboys. Who have been some other noteworthy No. 69s with the Bears?

Dennis N.
Bellevue, Washington

Jared Allen will be the 12th player to wear No. 69 with the Bears. Henry Melton is the only one among them who was voted to the Pro Bowl. The only others who've worn the number for more than two seasons have been offensive linemen Revie Sorey (1975-82), Mike Gandy (2001-04) and Fred Miller (2005-08).

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