Back in the Super Bowl Season of 1985, William "The Refrigerator" Perry took in a short-yardage carry for a touchdown, a play that prevented Walter Payton from picking up a touchdown in the biggest game of his career. In 2012, the Bears may be trying to rekindle that image with their own defensive tackle, Henry Melton.
This isn't exactly new news, as OTAs were held earlier in the month when this occurred, but I think I do need to eat my own words on this subject. When clamoring began around here for Melton to take offensive snaps, I brushed it off as pandering and trying to relive the "Super Bowl Shuffle Glory Days." I didn't think they'd do it - and, well, you saw the results.
I'm still not convinced that such a package will work on a consistent basis, but putting Melton back in goal line packages could hardly be the worst idea the Bears have had. Melton has the advantage of being a former running back at Texas prior to his switch to the defensive side - at Texas, Melton had 16 touchdowns on 132 carries for 625 yards. Perry in the backfield was pretty much just throwing a large man in the backfield, getting him a running start and saying "Take him down if you can."
My misgivings about this venture are two-fold. First off, putting Melton in the backfield shouldn't be done every time the team gets to the goal line. I'd like to see a few decoy plays with him as the backfield, maybe also as a blocking back to free up a running lane for Michael Bush, before tipping off that when Melton is in the backfield, he's going to be getting the ball.
Second, the last time he ran the ball at Texas was in 2006, when his workload was dropped from 87 carries to 45. That's better than Perry prior to his famous plunge, but still something I'm kind of edgy about.
I understand the concept of a gimmick play, I really do - I'm just not convinced at this point that it's something that'll work with certainty. I hope by the time this is put to use in the regular sesaon though, I'm wrong, again.
What are your thoughts on working Melton in as a goal-line back? Are you worried about using Melton given the team's lack of serviceable bodies at defensive tackle?