After he played in just five games during his first three NFL seasons, Bears DT Matt Toeaina has established himself as a starter in 2010. The 2007 sixth-round pick of the Bengals joined Chicago late in the '07 season after being claimed off Cincinnati's practice squad, and he has started 7-of-9 games in 2010. PFW caught up with Toeaina this week and discussed his development and his relationship with the player he replaced in the starting lineup, Tommie Harris.
PFW: How big of a role would you say defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has played in your development?
Toeaina: He's been a big part of my progress. He's pretty much been able to maximize the tools that I have. Whenever he talks, you've got to make sure you listen because he won't say nothing that you don't want to hear. We have to be wired in every time he has something to say.
PFW: You all shut down Adrian Peterson last week and are ranked second in the league against the run. What has been the key to stuffing the run?
Toeaina: I think for the most part it's just us on defense doing our job and trusting everybody to do theirs. We're not trying to do too much. … We've always been pretty good against the run. We did allow a few 100-yard rushers, but not too many. We've got a good challenge this week against Miami and their running game.
PFW: Tommie Harris started at your position for a long time. Does he offer much advice to you about playing in that spot?
Toeaina: Tommie Harris is a big help to me in my development as a three-technique tackle. Hopefully he learns (from me) just as much as I do from him. We play the same position. Our objective is to win and do our job, so we've got to talk.