Sedrick Ellis was a Bear for just a matter of hours on Wednesday but the veteran defensive tackle already knew the 2013 schedule for his new team. One game, at least.
“I think you know which game I’m excited about,” Ellis said, laughing.
The “which game” is the Oct. 6 game in Soldier Field against the New Orleans Saints, the team that made Ellis the No. 7-overall pick of the 2008 draft. Ellis had a few good years with the Saints before changes in the coaching staff produced changes in the defensive schemes, which were accelerating this year as New Orleans switches to a 3-4 scheme.
That was enough for Ellis, who had visits with the Detroit Lions and New England Patriots (two 4-3 teams) but opted for a one-year deal in Chicago with the Bears’ one-gap attacking scheme.
“That was part of the reason I picked Chicago,” Ellis said. “Mainly it was because of the way I know their defensive line plays. They allow their guys to do what defensive linemen are supposed to do, and that’s rush the passer, gets sacks and put pressure on the quarterback while playing the run on the way. I haven’t had the chance to do that the last couple of years.”
The plan is to play Ellis, 6-1, 307 pounds, at the “three-technique,” although Ellis has played and is willing to work at nose tackle. Henry Melton is the starting three-technique; Stephen Paea is the No. 1 at nose tackle. Ellis projects to be their backup in a three-tackle rotation.
“He’s veteran player, he’s got versatility,” said defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. “We feel like he can give us some stoutness inside, and also give us some rush inside. He’ll have an opportunity to come here and prove what he can do, and compete. That’s what we’re looking for.”
Players are rarely given to predictions. Ellis was not giving a specific number for sacks, tackles or anything else. But he was almost offering a guarantee that his production will increase as a Bear.
“Definitely,” he declared. “In fact I’m almost guaranteeing that it will because this is the style of defense that caters to defensive linemen getting up the field and playing fast, which is what I got drafted for in ’08 and the last couple years I haven’t been able to do that as much. Now I’ll have my chance.”