Idonije took advantage of the one-on-one matchups produced by Carolina’s intent to neutralize Julius Peppers, and pumped out a career-high three sacks in Chicago’s victory, while boosting the staff’s confidence in his prospects for duplicating the performance.
That could mean less time moving forward for Grant, who joined the Bears on Oct. 5, and was a surprise healthy scratch prior to the Carolina game.
Bears coach Lovie Smith said Grant needed more time to become acclimated to the team’s defensive system.
“It’s hard to come in and have a few days of practice and really be ready to go,” Smith said. “We wanted to wait another week at least.”
Given Idonije’s performance against the Panthers, the club could decide to stretch that timeframe. Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli seemed noncommittal Thursday when asked whether Grant would play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
“Well, we’ll see with the whole week [of practice] and watch the tape from today, and see how we’re going,” Marinelli said. “[He’s] just kind of getting in the groove of what we’re doing, the pace, and the tempo we’re at.”
As for Idonije, the defensive coordinator said there wasn’t some magic speech or change in technique that sparked inspired play from the defensive end. Asked what he said to Idonije prior to the game, Marinelli said: “Get there.”
Idonije currently leads the Bears with four sacks, and is tied for ninth in the NFL. Ten of Idonije’s 12 career sacks have come in the last three seasons, and his four sacks over the past two weeks ties for second in the NFL behind Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora.
“It’s his job,” Marinelli explained. “Part of his responsibility is to pass rush. If he’s not, he’s not doing his job. So I expect him to do his job. Every man has got to understand his role, what he has to do. The standards are going up, not sideways.”
The club just hopes opposing quarterbacks continue to go down.