Ed Thompson: Help the fans out a little bit, because I'm sure that many of them
that are going to read this article aren't familiar with the way the Bears'
defense is set up and the fact that you play the under tackle position. Tell
them what that role is and how that works in the Bears' defense.
Alfonso Boone: The under tackle is basically a tackle that is supposed to be
disruptive. You try to get up the field try to blow up plays, try to get
pressure on the quarterback, try to screw up the blocking schemes.
ET: How do you think your skills translate if you get an opportunity
with a team that has a different role for their defensive tackle?
AB: I played under Greg Blache earlier in my career with a totally
different defense. We were pretty much a gap and a half, and I was playing
behind Ted Washington and Keith Traylor. So you had to use your hands, you had
to hold up against double-teams. Your job was to let the linebackers run free,
and while I was playing that role was when the Bears re-worked my first
contract. So I must have been doing a pretty decent job at that time.
ET: I think another real valuable asset that you bring to the table
is that you've been able to serve as a mentor to some of the younger defensive
linemen in Chicago. Is that a role you enjoy? And what is it about you that you
think they respect?
AB: I don't even look at it as being a mentor. You want to win, so you
want that guy next to you to know what he's doing too. So I just try to help
guys out -- and I ask for help myself. I've learned from guys who can play the
game, too. Learning from Ted Washington, Keith Traylor and Bryan Robinson really
helped me learn how to use your hands and how to take down blocks; to recognize
what's going on in different situations.
ET: From where you see yourself right now, do you see yourself
fitting into a 3-4 defense at the nose tackle or do you think you're best-suited
from a skills perspective for the 4-3?
AB: I could probably do both because I actually played some defensive
end these past couple of years. I wouldn't mind playing a 3-4 defensive end or a
3-4 nose -- it doesn't matter to me. I'd have to learn the little nuances of
playing the position, but after that I would be fine. But still in 3-4 you
really have to use your hands and it seems like you would get more single
blocking in the 3-4 as the nose, which would be pretty fun I think.
ET: There are more teams now playing the Tampa 2 defense -- and
certainly it's going to help that both Super Bowl teams used it. Would that be
your first preference to stay in that style of defense? Do you feel you really
excel in that scheme?
| (Getty Images/Jonathan Daniel)|
AB: Yeah, I do just because it's so much easier on your body. There's
more single blocks, you're getting up the field. You've still got to take on
blocks here and there, but it's more based on quick movement and you're getting
out of the way of a lot of things along the line that really helps your body
ET: Ironically, I think one of the teams that could certainly take a
look at you would be the Colts. They've got some question marks at the defensive
tackle position as far as depth goes, and they like having strong players to
rotate into their line throughout the game. How would it hit you if you ended up
playing for Tony Dungy and the Colts?
AB: You know, I haven't even thought about them. That's a new one on
me. But if they are looking for more help there, I'm just going to hop in and do
the best that I can. The Colts play a great style of Tampa 2. I think theirs is
a little different from ours. It seems like they're a little more pass-oriented
than we were as far as their linebackers go, but with them it seems like
basically the same thing that we've been doing in Chicago. You just get up the
field and have fun.
ET: You talked about your old friend Ted Washington, who is in now
in Cleveland. They certainly need to add some defensive tackle help. What would
you think about going to Cleveland? You'd be looking at a team that's at the
opposite end of the spectrum from the Bears at the moment, a team that's trying
to rebuild under Romeo Crennel.
AB: Well, I think that Cleveland is probably going to be on the rise
because they've got some pretty good offensive players they've drafted the past
couple of years. They drafted Kamerion Wimbley and he looked pretty good. So I
think Cleveland is going to be okay, I think they're a 3-4 defense. You've got
to remember that here in Chicago we weren't very good when I first got here, so
it's just a challenge that you've got to meet head on.
ET: Kansas City is another team that could be in the market because
they have both of their starting defensive tackles hitting free agency this year…
AB: Yeah, I think one of their guys is a guy from my hometown, James Reed. He's a good friend of mine.
ET: Well wouldn't that be wild if the two of you ended up lining up
shoulder to shoulder in the NFL?
AB: That would be different. I don't know much about what Herman
Edwards has done with the defense over there since he got there, but it would be
something to get the chance to play on the same team with James.
ET: Washington is certainly a possibility because Cornelius Griffin
has had some hip problems. And then they've got a pretty decent rookie, Kedric Golston, but I think they could be looking to add some talent at defensive
AB: I know a lot about Washington mainly because of Phillip Daniels. I
played with him in Chicago, and Greg Blache is there now as the D-Line coach.
I'd be happy to go to any team that wants me to come in and help them win games.
|A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews have been published across the Scout.com network and syndicated through FoxSports.com's NFL team pages.
Unrestricted free agent Alfonso Boone talks about his skills and how they translate into different defenses and provides his thoughts on how he'd fit in with some prospective employers such as the Colts, Redskins, Chiefs and Browns.