Its finally time for the Bears fan base to get excited. July 25th marks the first day where fans can begin to see all the work during the off season finally come together. The disappointing end to the 2013-2014 season fades away, as excitement builds before the new Chicago Bears take the field. The same great offense that impressed a fan base last year, finally provides Cutler with some continuity while Mel Tucker’s revamped defense looks to bounce back from a historically bad year.
Just as the year before when Phil Emery revamped the offensive line, Emery is hoping to pull the same trick on the other side. Signing defensive ends Jared Allen, Willie Young, Trevor Scott, and Lamarr Houston and resigning defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff. All these moves up front were made in to hope of generating pressure, and most importantly stopping the run. The Bears front four last year couldn’t have stopped a toddler, partly because of injuries, and partly because players were not living up to their expectations. The Bears bolstered the interior line by drafting Ego Ferguson in the second round of this years draft, followed by third round pick Will Sutton. The more interesting pick (and maybe steal of the draft) will be Will Sutton. He was an animal in 2012 where he posted 13 sacks, but gained too much weight in 2013 leading to a reduction in performance, 4 sacks. He has since lost that weight and many hope he will return to form. This line could be dangerous and hopefully reverse last years trend.
After poor safety play, the Bears parted ways with Major Wright who went to Tampa Bay to reunite with Lovie Smith. The Bears added to the safety position through free agency bringing in Ryan Mundy and M.D. Jennings. Neither inspiring much hope. The Bears then added again by drafting fourth round pick Brock Vereen, who so far has been impressive during OTAs (however not much should be based on these meetings). Chris Conte meanwhile is recovering from off season shoulder surgery (much like myself, except I’m no football player). In a late addition the Bears added Adrian Wilson (who I don’t expect to make the roster) to add some veteran leadership. Camp will be full of exciting battles filled with competition and new faces. The safety position is surely going to be a good one to watch. Chris Conte is going to have to compete with Brock Vereen who has already impressed in a short time. Adrian Wilson is in the mix, but his Achilles injury at age 35 is worrisome. Ryan
Mundy will likely be the go ahead guy for the strong safety position. Linebacker is also going to be very competitive. D.J. Williams, Shea Mcclellin, Jon Bostic, and Lance Briggs are going to be fighting for spots, Khaseem Greeneis not likely to start this year, but could benefit from another year learning from Briggs, who he is likely to replace. Briggs is the only one who is solidified as a starter. It will be interesting to see if Bostic can take back a spot in the middle over D.J. Williams. I suspect we will see Bostic, Williams, and Briggs as the starters, with Shea McClellin coming in on blitzes and passing downs. He has a high motor, great speed, and lost plenty of weight in the offseason. It was my thought all along that he would end up in Urlacher’s spot, hell even Urlacher thought McClellin was meant to play linebacker. He certainly has the attributes, the question is can he put it all together, he is alarmingly close to being labeled a bust. However he has been given another opportunity, and those don’t come often in the NFL, it will be up to him to make the most out of it.