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NFL Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears Help Bolster Pathetic DT Position, Sign Jay Ratliff

Jay Ratliff Chicago Bears

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Less than an hour ago, ESPN reported that the Chicago Bears have signed former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jay Ratliff to a one-year deal.

Ratliff had been meeting with several teams, including the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals — once they had found out Geno Atkins tore his ACL in Thursday night’s game. The Bears are fortunate that he chose to sign with them considering how pathetic their defensive line has been this season.

In the first month of the season, their top two defensive tackles, franchise-tagged Henry Melton and Nate Collins, both tore their ACLs. Since then, there’s been hardly any penetration up the middle and the Bears have been gashed, especially on the ground, by every team they’ve faced over the past four games.

Now, Ratliff obviously wasn’t impressing people anymore in Dallas, which is why he was let go a couple of weeks back. That, and of course his injury issues, as he’s only played six games over the past two seasons.

Before that, however, Ratliff had five-straight seasons with at least three sacks, including a career-high of 7.5 in 2008. So, it’s been a little while since he’s been highly productive. To say he’s going to come in and fix all of the problems on the Bears’ D-line is a bit naive, but he honestly can’t be worse than what they’ve had line up on the inside.

Stephen Paea, when healthy, has been solid, but Landon Cohen and Zach Minter have been pretty much invisible while on the field. It’s gotten to the point where Corey Wootton has had to line up on the inside, and while he’s been better than either of those two, it’s not the ideal situation for sure.

As for the Monday night game against the Green Bay Packers, I don’t necessarily expect Ratliff to be active, but who knows? If he is (or at least when he is), he’ll provide some much-needed depth, and I’m sure he’ll start once the Bears have got a look at him and are happy with his conditioning and grasp of the defense.

The best part about this news is simply the fact that there is news about the Bears signing a defensive tackle. For a while there it seemed as if they were content throwing their practice squad defensive lineman out there and watching opposing offenses move the ball up and down the field with ease.

Can one man change that? Most likely, no. But at least they’re trying. Perhaps they’ll surprise some people — myself included — moving forward and actually improve. Or not.

But hey, I’m an optimist.

Brian Neal is an NFL and NBA contributor for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianneal23, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google+.

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