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Julius Peppers: Sky is the limit for Bears’ defensive line

Julius Peppers has high expectations for Bears' defensive line this season. | Scott Stewart/Sun-Times Media

Julius Peppers has high expectations for the Bears' defensive line this season. | Scott Stewart/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 18, 2011 4:55PM

Julius Peppers played on some special defensive lines with the Carolina Panthers. But he really likes the potential of his unit with the 2011 Bears.

“I think it could be a great one,” he said. “If everybody continues to work and learn like we have been doing, I think the skies the limit for this group because we have so much depth and so many guys that can play.”

While the Bears did lose Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris, the club is confident in the players they retained and are prepared to step into the spotlight. They re-signed veteran Anthony Adams, but they expect Henry Melton to make a name for himself, and they also are optimistic that Matt Toeaina will also become a force. In addition, they’ve been encouraged by the potential of rookie Stephen Paea and free-agents Amobi Okoye and Vernon Gholston, as well as undrafted rookies like Mario Addison.

And, of course, there’s Peppers and Israel Idonije, who each had eight sacks apiece in 2010.

“I see a lot of guys that can play, that fill our system,” Peppers said. “We have explosive and quick guys, that’s what we try and have up front. We’re not necessarily big guys, heavy guys, so I see all the guys that we have fit into the system.”

On paper, the Bears defensive line does look good. But, it is hurt by the loss of Corey Wootton for a few more weeks, after a scope on his right knee Tuesday. With the depth, though, the Bears can probably ease him back and hope he returns to his training camp shape by October.

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