Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
The linebacker corps was decimated by injuries last year. Lance Briggs and D.J. Williams each missed significant time, thrusting rookies Jonathan Bostic and Khaseem Greene into roles they just were not ready for yet.
This season, Briggs and Williams are healthy, and Bostic and Greene have a lot more experience under their belt than they would have if they weren’t just thrown into the fire. Rookie free agent Christian Jones has looked good and will probably make the team as the backup strong side linebacker.
Add Shea McClellin to the mix. The Bears moved him from defensive end. Because of his size (or lack thereof), McClellin was often overpowered by big offensive linemen. Running downhill from the two-point stance in the linebacker position, he will have more open space to move around, and he will be able to use his speed and athleticism.
Being a first round pick, this move will be extremely scrutinized. If this doesn’t work for him, it could be all over for him. He feels comfortable, however, and he does have the coaches behind him.
New linebackers coach Reggie Herring is squarely behind McClellin and has been working with him at getting better. It will be interesting to see how he has progressed.