Although the Bears defensive line tightened up dramatically in the second half against the Falcons, the loss of DT Eddie Goldman is still feeling awfully acute.
Even as the Bears started getting pressure on Matt Ryan, the Falcons were able to rip off significant runs up the middle. Todd Gurley averaged 5.7 yards on his 14 carries, and Brian Hill averaged 6.4 on his 9. I don’t want that to get lost in the general success of Sunday’s game.
To that end, while I’m glad the Bears are bringing in more depth for the practice squad (Terry Beckner this week, Daniel McCullers last week), there’s one starting-caliber nose tackle out there still taking free agent visits, and the Bears need to land him: Damon “Snacks” Harrison.
Harrison, 31, who might be coming in for a visit this week, could immediately help fill the Goldman hole in the middle, working into a doing-the-best-they-can rotation. Here’s the latest from Adam Hoge today in one of his 10 topics:
It’s no secret the Bears miss nose tackle Eddie Goldman. Defensive line coach Jay Rodgers is doing his best to get a rotation of players to fill in at the nose, but in some ways, they’re all playing a little out of position. John Jenkins was really the only true nose tackle and he’s now on injured reserve with a thumb injury. The Bears signed big Daniel McCullers off the Steelers’ practice squad last week and he might be able to help a little bit, but reinforcements are needed.
The Bears would be wise to scoop up Damon “Snacks” Harrison if he indeed wants to play this year. Harrison reportedly is scheduled to visit the Seahawks this week, but he indicated on social media that he might be visiting the Bears too.
To be clear, Harrison isn’t as good as Goldman, but he would be the best nose tackle on the team right now. The Bears had to deal with Snacks regularly when he was with the Lions.
“He’s a guy you have to account for, especially in the run game,” Bears center Cody Whitehair said last week. “He’s a big guy, a big two-gap guy where he plays very well with his hands and he’s able to shed blocks. So you’ve really got to account for him and be able to use your leverage against him and try to move him off the ball. He is very good against the run.”
More than just a warm body, Harrison could be a rare, in-season signing that marks a significant upgrade in what has become an area of need. As Hoge points out, the Bears are about to face a really tough offensive line in the Colts this weekend. Who knows how ready Snacks is at the moment, but if you could get him in the door and practicing late this week? Maybe he’s able to get right into the rotation a little bit.