There was no fan fare or ticker tape parade. No courtside seats at the United Center as the Bulls make their playoff run. ESPN and NFL Network did not broadcast any breaking news conferences or create a ‘PISA’ category to their constantly updated, informative bottom lines.
Very quietly, the Chicago Bears re-signed what may be a very important piece to a playoff puzzle, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa.
If you blinked early on last season, you may have missed his debut year with the Bears. The diminutive, yet hard hitting, University of Hawaii product missed 14 games last season after injuring his knee on the first play from scrimmage in the first game. He would try and make a comeback four weeks later, but was placed on injured reserve and lost for the season after aggravating the injury against Atlanta.
Only one game into last season, and the Bears had lost two thirds of what may be the best linebacking corps in the National Football League. Defensive leader Brian Urlacher was also lost in the season opener at Green Bay after dislocating his wrist. Now after a year of recovery and rest, the Bears and us fans finally get a chance to see what Tinoisamoa, Urlacher, and four-time Pro Bowler Lance Briggs can do as a unit.
The deepest position on the Bears is linebacker. With the rash of injuries last year, the Bears proved they could depend on back-ups Hunter Hillenmeyer, Nick Roach, and Jamar Williams. Even with all of this depth, coupled with the lack of familiarity with the Bears organization (except head coach Lovie Smith, who coached Pisa in St. Louis) and the prowess for injury that Tino has had over the last few seasons, the Bears still found the need to sign him to a new one year contract.
Granted, Roach and Williams are both restricted free agents who have yet to sign their tenders, the Bears needed to make sure they had at least their projected starters at linebacker in the fold. Nevertheless, the Bears thought enough of Tinoisamoa and his work ethic to give him another shot.
With the addition of free agent defensive end Julius Peppers and a hopefully rejuvenated Tommie Harris, the Bears defensive line should be able to hold their own in 2010. Thus, giving the Bears' speedy linebackers a chance to fly around and make plays. No longer can the opposing team's offensive linemen blow by their defensive lineman counterpart and swallow up Urlacher, or send most plays to the strong side of the offensive formation to run away from Briggs. All players within the defensive 'box' must now be accounted for, especially on the backer level.
Pair that with a healthy set of corners, Charles Tillman and Zackary Bowman, along with new Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli’s fiery, passionate attitude and the Bears defense could return to the form that carried them into the playoffs only a few short years ago.
Re-signing Pisa Tinoisamoa made not have made headline news, but it did make the Chicago Bears back line better.