McClellin to be at left DEmostly

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McClellin to be at left DEmostly

Phil Emery invested his first-ever draft choice as an NFL general manager in a pass rusher. The question may be: from where?

McClellin has played linebacker and defensive lineman. He has played in a three-point stance opposite a tackle and standing up in a two-point stance, which is how the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots envisioned positioning him in their 3-4 defensive schemes.

The Bears play a 4-3 defense and have no intention of changing what has worked for Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli.

But last season there was criticism, some from inside Halas Hall, that the Bears needed to become less predictable in a scheme that has endured like the West Coast system on offense. It was being exploited too easily by quality quarterbacks who too often knew exactly where everyone was going to be.

McClellins mission statement will be find-quarterback-hit-quarterback. Where he does it from and how he gets there will warrant watching.

At Boise State I was all over the place, McClellin said, noting with just a hint of an edge that his numbers reflected that.

People who look at stats, I didnt have the stats compared to other guys but if you look at my stats, I only averaged 35 snaps a game compared to other guys getting 60-70 and theyre rushing the passer every down.

I was in coverage and other things so its hard to compare.

Hand in the dirt, standing up, I think I can do either.

The Bears do drop their defensive linemen into coverage on occasion and the speed of McClellin projects to allow better disguising of rushes and drops.

His normal starting role at Boise was as a mike middle backer and he would come down and rush in third down or in sub substitution package situations, so theres a lot of versatility to this player, Emery said.

We will start him off at left end because of Pep Julius Peppers but he can play either side. He has the pass rush ability of a right D-end, he has good strength along with his combination of instincts and motor to play the left side.

Bears' best rookies will have another learning curve

Bears' best rookies will have another learning curve

There's a sense of irony and, to a certain degree, concern about what changes the Bears' coaching staff has undergone.

Think of the best of Ryan Pace's 2016 rookie class: Leonard Floyd, Cody Whitehair, and Jordan Howard. They were brought along under the position group tutelage of outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt, offensive line coach Dave Magazu and running backs coach Stan Drayton. The latter was the first to depart, shortly after the season ended, to return to the collegiate ranks on Texas' new staff.

He's been replaced with former 49ers and Bills offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins (also serving as that position coach in Detroit, Buffalo, Arizona and Kansas City). Howard certainly adapted to the NFL game well, more than anyone expected, as the NFL's second-leading rusher. One would think Drayton played a part in that.

Longtime John Fox assistant Magazu was also let go after the season despite the impressive move of second-round pick Whitehair to center the week of the season opener after Josh Sitton was signed following his release by Green Bay. Whitehair was sold as a "quick study" following his selection out of Kansas State, where he was a four-year starter at three different positions (but not center).

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Like Howard, he wound up making the All-Rookie team, but whether he remains in the middle of the line or not, he'll be getting his orders now from Jeremiah Washburn.

Rounding out the trio of All-Rookie selections was Floyd, who was brought along by Hurtt. He impressed Fox enough to be kept around from Marc Trestman's staff, and moved from defensive line to outside linebackers.

That's where he assisted Willie Young in morphing to a foreign role, yet still managing 14 sacks over the last two seasons. The Bears have yet to name a replacement for Hurtt, who's joined the Seahawks in taking over one of their strengths in recent years, the defensive line.

These three were already good, and the jewels of last year's draft. But if they're to grow and ascend into impact contributors if and when this team becomes a regular playoff contender, it'll come from new faces, new voices in their respective classrooms and position groups.

Bears announce additions to John Fox's coaching staff

Bears announce additions to John Fox's coaching staff

The Bears announced Monday several additions to John Fox's coaching staff in 2017.

Roy Anderson has been hired as the assistant defensive backs coach, Curtis Modkins has been named the new running backs coach and Jeremiah Washburn is the new offensive line coach. The team also announced that outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt's contract was not renewed.

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Anderson was the assistant defensive backs coach for the San Francisco 49ers last season, and spent his previous seven years with the Indianapolis Colts (2012-15) and Baltimore Ravens (2009-11). He replaces Sam Garnes.

Modkins has 22 years of coaching experience, and also spent the 2016 season with the 49ers as the team's offensive coordinator. His previous stops include the Detroit Lions (2013-15), Buffalo Bills (2010-12), Arizona Cardinals (2009) and Kansas City Chiefs (2008). Modkins replaces Stan Drayton.

Washburn served as the Miami Dolphins assistant offensive line coach last season, and spent his previous 14 years with the Lions (2009-15), Ravens (2003-08) and Carolina Panthers (2002). He replaces Dave Magazu.