Bears-Eagles Viewer's Guide: Sorting out fight for two LB spots

Bears-Eagles Viewer's Guide: Sorting out fight for two LB spots
August 8, 2014, 8:45 am
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The Bears haven’t shuffled linebackers to the degree they have safeties this offseason and training camp, but it is a position group with multiple moving parts. Lance Briggs remains ensconced as the weakside linebacker and also as one of the two nickel linebackers along with Jon Bostic.

One notable observation is that Bostic is held in the highest possible regard by new linebackers coach Reggie Herring. That suggests that Bostic will start somewhere. Bostic’s struggles when he was thrown into a 2013 defense in shambles are old news.

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“You know, I’ve heard a lot of people say that,” Herring said. “He was a rookie. Everybody’s different. When I was at Houston [Texans] we wanted Jon Bostic. He was our second-round pick and [the Bears] took him before we could take him. We had him marked, that he was going to be our guy. Regardless of what happened last year, I could [not] care less.”

Shea McClellin has been the strong-side linebacker with the No. 1 base defense, with D.J. Williams at middle linebacker. But coaches are expected to start the three best linebackers rather than slot-specific. While Bostic has not played as much as McClellin at strong-side linebacker, and Bostic’s eventual spot is expected to be as Briggs’ successor, McClellin is tasked with taking a significant step forward in demonstrating that he is indeed an NFL linebacker.

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And if Bostic demonstrates a level of play against the run that is on par with his coverage performance, the Bears could conceivably turn the entire, every down MLB job over to him – a role situation that worked well for Brian Urlacher for more than a decade.