Defensive end Gaines Adams didn’t live up to his billing in Tampa Bay. Now, the former first-round pick is getting another chance in Chicago.
The Bears hope the underachieving Adams can provide some help up front after acquiring him Friday for a second-round pick in next year’s draft. He is expected to play against Cincinnati this weekend.
“Sometimes change of scenery could be good for a player,” Adams said Monday during his introductory news conference. “Obviously, some places might not be a perfect fit for a player, but hopefully, this fit will be good.”
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One reason Adams believes this will be a good fit is the presence of Rod Marinelli, whom he repeatedly praised. With the respected defensive line coach working with him, Adams said he believes he can start living up to his billing coming out of college.
The Bears (3-2) have plenty of room to improve after a mistake-filled 21-14 loss at Atlanta on Sunday, and they continue to get picked apart by injuries.
Strongside linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa was carted off the sideline with another injury to his right knee after missing the previous three games with a torn posterior cruciate ligament, and the extent of this injury was not clear. He had an MRI on Monday.
If Tinoisamoa is unavailable, Hunter Hillenmeyer could replace him – assuming he’s ready to return after missing two games with a rib injury. Or Nick Roach could play the strongside with Hillenmeyer in the middle.
“All those are options for us,” coach Lovie Smith said.
Asked if the Bears need another linebacker, he said, “We feel pretty good about our bodies that we have out there. Whenever you have a player like Pisa go down, hopefully, we can get Hunter back in. Our numbers are still pretty good.”
Smith also said he doesn’t “foresee any major changes” on an offensive line that hasn’t exactly given quarterback Jay Cutler much time or running back Matt Forte many holes this season. One option would be inserting past starter Josh Beekman into the lineup.
As for Adams, now it’s up to him to produce as advertised.
The fourth overall pick in the 2007 draft out of Clemson, the 6-foot-5, 258-pound defensive end had 13 1/2 sacks in two-plus seasons with the Bucs and was unable to live up to expectations that he would revive Tampa Bay’s once-feared pass rush.
He had 14 tackles and one sack in five games this season and was a long way from the benchmark set by Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris, who said at the start of training camp that Adams would be considered a “bust” if he didn’t reach double digits in sacks this season.
“Every day I went to work at Tampa, I gave it my all,” Adams said. “Obviously, things didn’t work out as planned.”
“I have no idea,” he said. “Obviously, the coaches wanted to go in a different route, and it’s something that I had to go with.”
Although the trade caught him “totally off guard,” Adams said he has no ill will toward the Buccaneers and was thankful for the opportunity he had. Now, he’s looking forward to the chance at hand with Marinelli along with players who formed the core of what was a dominant defense a few years ago.
“I’ve got one of the best coaches in the NFL teaching me now,” he said. “I can listen to him, to the veteran leadership on this team (and) go from there.”