Chicago Bears Training Camp Primer: Linebackers
The Chicago Bears revamped defense will also include a position battle at two linebacking spots. An area where they struggled last season, allowing running backs to get into the secondary and do damage. But this year it’s a new Bears team and a new look at the linebacking core that is manned down by veteran Lance Briggs. While Briggs will be at the weakside, the Bears are still opening up the strongside and middle linebacking positions in hopes of solidifying both throughout the season.
via CBS Sports
Consistency at all three positions will be the biggest key for the Bears linebackers this season and could be for the entire defense. The bottom line is the defense needs to play better and the linebackers are a big part of that. The Bears return D.J. Williams who suffered a season ending injury early last year and was playing well before his injury. A healthy Williams will go a long way to helping the Bears defense. The big question mark will be the strongside position which includes Shea McClellin moving from defensive end to linebacker. It’s a key year for Shea and likely his last chance to stay on the team.
Briggs suffered an injury last season that sidelined him a few games. During that time, the Bears struggled. Khaseem Greene filled in for Briggs and earned some experience, which was a positive if you can look at it that way.
Briggs will need to stay healthy in order to help keep the Bears defense on track. He’s the main focal point for a successful defense this season.
Last year fans fell in love with the rookie linebacker who grew after getting playing time when D.J. Williams went down with an injury. This year Bostic needs to take that next step and establish himself as the linebacker of the future for the Bears.
He will be competing with Williams for the middle linebacker spot which will be an interesting battle to watch. Whatever happens with Bostic this camp, the Bears will need him to contribute this season.
This is it for McClellin. It’s make or break for the former defensive end who is getting a second chance as a linebacker. The Bears hope Shea can excel in his new position and contribute defensively.
It won’t be easy for McClellin who has slimmed down in the offseason. He’s in a battle with Greene for that strongside linebacker spot.
The second-year linebacker has great speed for his size, but struggled last year. Greene couldn’t fill the gaps and was a liability in coverage. He made rookie mistakes which are expected, but those need to be cleaned up and improved on if he wants to win the strongside linebacker position.
The veteran is back with the Bears after suffering an injury that ended his season last year. Prior to the injury, Williams showed he could play in the Bears defense and contribute.
He goes into camp trying to win his job back from Bostic who took over for him last season. Williams can help the Bears defense succeed this season, but he needs a strong camp to earn his spot.
Outside looking in
The Bears might have one of the biggest steals in the draft with the signing of former Florida State linebacker Christian Jones. The star at FSU had off the field issues which hurt his draft stock, but not many people predicted him to not be drafted at all. The Bears have taken a chance on Jones who could bring tremendous value to the team. Jones is fueled by his draft snub and should make the team.
The Bears also brought in linebackers Jerry Franklin, Jordan Senn, DeDe Lattimore and Connor O’Neill for camp. The team is certainly hoping that one of them can make the team and hopefully contribute to special teams. Lattimore had a solid career at South Florida and ended up choosing the Bears over the Lions after the draft. It’s not very likely that any of these linebackers will make the team and contribute right away as a linebacker, but special teams is the best option.
Can-Am partnership with NFL
As Training Camp approaches, this is the perfect time to talk about Can-Am and their partnership with the NFL. The two have teamed up and included NFL quarterback Drew Brees who will promote their new three-wheel, Y-framed model. You can watch Brees talk about it at CanAmSpyder.com.
The campaign kicked off on May 19th and is offering NFL fans the chance to win prizes like a trip to New Orleans to meet Drew Brees. As part of the package, you will also attend a football game in New Orleans! It’s a great opportunity for all NFL fans!