Melton a stand-up guy at line of scrimmage
BY KALYN KAHLER Staff Reporter August 6, 2013 9:42PM
The Chicago Bears Henry Melton (69, left) and Lance Briggs (55, right) during practice at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Ill., on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 6, 2013 11:38PM
BOURBONNAIS — The Bears’ offense got a look at an unusual defensive line Tuesday.
Defensive tackle Henry Melton stood upright at the line of scrimmage, a position common for 3-4 defenses but rarely seen in the Bears’ 4-3 defense.
“That’s a little wrinkle [defensive coordinator Mel Tucker] is bringing to us,” Melton said. “We’re just testing it out. We’re going to see how it works, and we’ll see if we’re going to run it.”
Melton said he’s adjusting quickly to the change in stance.
“Yeah, I’m an athlete,” he said when asked if he was comfortable as an upright pass rusher.
This was the first time the Bears experimented with Melton and defensive end Kyle Moore standing at the line of scrimmage at an open practice. Melton said he’s embracing Tucker’s tweaks.
“If it’s going to help us win, I’m all for it,” Melton said.
Coach Marc Trestman said the offense benefits from playing against all the defensive variations.
“You saw a lot of different looks,” Trestman said. “That’s excellent because those are the types of things we’re going to see throughout the season.”
The defensive line batted down several of Jay Cutler’s passes, two of which resulted in interceptions. Defensive end Shea McClellin jumped up to intercept a screen pass from Cutler, and Melton deflected a pass to nickel back Isaiah Frey and ran back another interception for what would’ve been a touchdown.
“Defensively, our front has been moving around,” Trestman said. “Guys have stepped up. We’ve seen Shea make plays like that and Melton make plays like that — and now I’ve mentioned two guys, and I’ve left out three or four. I don’t like to get too specific, but it was certainly evident today.
“The guys who have been around here have a plan.”
Running back Matt Forte was given the day off, allowing Armando Allen and Michael Bush more opportunities.
† Wide receiver Earl Bennett is still being evaluated after leaving practice Saturday with concussion-like symptoms.
† Offensive tackle Jonathan Scott (knee) didn’t practice, and defensive end Julius Peppers was excused from practice. Cornerback Kelvin Hayden (hamstring) sat out. Linebacker D.J. Williams (calf) is back in a walking boot.