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Bears DT Melton says he's achieving goal of dominance

Pro Football Weekly
Bears DT Melton receives franchise tag
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Bears DT Melton receives franchise tag

The Bears’ defense has delivered abundant highlight-reel material already this season, and while DT Henry Melton has not made as many flashy plays as some of his turnover-causing, touchdown-scoring fellow defenders, his steady performance is not going unnoticed.

Melton, the team’s starting three-technique, leads the Bears in sacks (4½), tackles for loss (five) and QB hits (six), and Melton has been more consistent, which is what the Bears said they wanted from him after last season. His play was spotty in 2011 — he had seven sacks but was ineffective for lengthy stretches. He has recorded at least half a sack in four of Chicago’s six games this season, though, and has been credited with exactly one QB hit in four of the past five games.

“I said when I was coming in for the offseason that I wanted to be a dominant under tackle for this defense,” Melton told PFW. “We really need that to thrive and be great. I feel like I’m achieving that right now. Our whole defensive line is stepping its game up, so it feels good.

“(I’m) focusing on every down. It’s paying off.”

It could really pay off for Melton after the season, when he is due to become an unrestricted free agent. He’s receiving positive feedback, albeit measured, from a coaching staff that challenged him to raise his game in the offseason, and Melton told PFW the opposition has noticed his play, too.

“My coaches compliment me,” he said. “They don’t want me to get too big of a head, but they do (give me) some compliments.

“The best thing is when other players on other teams that you don’t even know come over and say ‘You’re playing great.’ ”

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