Lovie Smith expects to see more from Henry Melton
By Mark Potash firstname.lastname@example.org November 4, 2011 9:38PM
CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 28: Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles turns to avoid a rush by Henry Melton #69 of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 28, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Michael Vick;Henry Melton
Updated: December 6, 2011 8:29AM
When the Bears played the Philadelphia Eagles last season, Henry Melton didn’t make a big impact on the stat sheet — he had one tackle — but he still made an impact on the game, primarily as a third-down defensive tackle.
On the first series, Melton fought through a double team that allowed Israel Idonije to sack Michael Vick to force a punt. On the Eagles’ second possession, Melton pressured Vick into an incompletion that forced the Eagles to settle for a field goal. On the Eagles’ third possession, Melton had the initial pressure that forced Vick to scramble for a gain short of a first down.
That’s the Henry Melton that coach Lovie Smith wants to see on every play as a starter, not just as a situational player. And Melton said Thursday he has gotten the message.
‘‘I’ve been trying to work as hard as I did last year,’’ Melton said. ‘‘When I was coming in and getting limited snaps, I would just go out there and every time go as hard as I could. That’s what I’m trying to do now.’’
Melton, who has struggled to make an impact after getting two sacks and six quarterback pressures in the opener against the Atlanta Falcons, had no problem with Smith letting him know the team expects more out of him in the second half.
‘‘It’s great motivation,’’ he said. ‘‘It shows me he believes I can do it and that everyone wants me to do it. There were high expectations of me coming into the season, that they expect out of me, my teammates expect out of me and what I expect out of me. So I [had] a great start. . . . I’ve been close the last few weeks, but I just haven’t made the plays I made at the start. I’ve got to make those plays.’’
Rookie right tackle Gabe Carimi, who has missed the last five games since partially dislocating his right kneecap against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2, didn’t practice Friday because his knee was sore after practicing Thursday. He was the only player who didn’t practice.
‘‘We worked him pretty hard [Thursday],’’ Smith said. ‘‘I think you should expect this to happen. We’re not rushing him back. We just want to see it play out. He should be OK.’’
For the Eagles, defensive end Juqua Parker was the only player who didn’t practice Friday.