Okoye most comfortable with 4-3 defense

August, 8, 2011
8/08/11
7:34
PM ET
Chicago Bears defensive tackle Amobi Okoye actually played in a 4-3 defense for four years in Houston, before the Texans hired new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who plans to implement a 3-4 look for the upcoming season.

Okoye produced a career-high 44 tackles in 2010, including three sacks, but the 4-3 scheme he executed out of for the Texans was a little bit different than what the Bears do up front.

We asked Okoye to explain the situation, and here’s what he had to say.

“Well, I played in a 4-3 in Houston for the last four years. Then they switched to a 3-4. Definitely, everybody knows that when I was coming in from college, I had always played in a 4-3,” Okoye said. “It just seems like I’m more fit for a 4-3 than a 3-4. In the 3-4, it’s more reacting. You kind of get off [at the snap of the ball], but you watch. Here, you get off, and you react as you’re already going.”

Basically, the Bears scheme takes some of the thinking out of the mix for defensive linemen, allowing them to utilize their athleticism to make plays instead of playing hesitantly, bogged down in thought.

That’s what Okoye likes most about playing for Bears coach Lovie Smith and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

“The ability to kind of just go and not have to worry much about much lateral movement,” Okoye said. “In Houston they wanted me to do that also, to get off and go. But at the same time, I was kind of expected to kind of go laterally and forward at the same time. Here, it’s kind of [you’re] racing to five yards. [Marinelli always tells me to] get off, go. Get off, go.”

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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