In an official move this morning, the Chicago Bears formally ended defensive tackle Henry Melton‘s 2013 season. Melton, playing on a franchise player tender, tore his ACL against the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday night. The injury happens at an unfortunate time for both Melton and the Bears. Melton earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2012 and was hoping to cash in on a lucrative contract in 2014. The Bears, meanwhile, have struggled with their pass rush thus far and Melton’s departure further strains the little defensive line depth they had. The Bears will be very hard-pressed to find any sort of production from free-agent defensive tackles, so do not be surprised when the defense starts to crumble around mid-season due to attrition.
In a corresponding move, Chicago brought in nothing more than a warm body in defensive tackle Landon Cohen to add to the line rotation. Cohen is a 6-foot-3, 300-pound “3-Technique” tackle from Spartanburg, South Carolina. Coincidentally, Cohen was drafted by the Detroit Lions (this week’s opponent) in the seventh round of the 2008 draft. Cohen played his college ball at Ohio University, where he twice earned second team all-conference honors in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Through six seasons, Cohen has played in 27 games and recorded 32 tackles, failing to register a sack. The 27-year-old appeared for the Dallas Cowboys twice this season before being placed on waivers. The Bears represent the sixth team for which Cohen has played. Fans should not expect to see him earn much game action until he proves he is both physically and mentally ready to play. Most scouting reports on Cohen have stated he remains a bit undersized to anchor an interior defensive line position. He also has relatively short arms that make it hard for him to disengage blockers and pursue ball carriers. However, Cohen did play for current Bears Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker in Jacksonville. As previously stated, Cohen remains “just a guy” at this point in time. The defensive staff would be better suited inserting big-bodied end Corey Wootton into the interior rotation because it is hard to imagine Cohen will serve as more than special teams help.
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