Venable Pushing for Roster Spot...........................
August 31, 2011
Venable pushing hard for roster spot
By: Larry Mayer | Last Updated: 8/31/2011 11:29 AM
In most lines of work, being labeled an “intense, high-strung headhunter” would be considered anything but a positive. But being described that way in an NFL draft guide is just fine with one Bears rookie.
Rookie Winston Venable has impressed Bears coaches with his playmaking ability.“I’ll take that as a compliment,” said safety Winston Venable, an undrafted free agent from Boise State. “I feel like I’m a physical guy. I like to hit. I’m not trying to be dirty by any means but definitely want to go out there and be dominant as a physical football player. Anytime I can get a blow-up shot on somebody I’m going to try to take it.”
Applying that mentality on special teams this preseason, Venable has impressed coordinator Dave Toub and is pushing for a spot on the Bears' 53-man roster. “He’s a good football player,” Toub said. “He’s got good football instincts. He plays fast. He’s in there for a limited amount of plays. He’s in there for only five or six plays on special teams, but he’ll make three plays. He’s definitely got our attention.”
Venable has recorded three special-teams tackles in his last two games, including two stops and a forced fumble in last Saturday’s loss to the Titans. Making an impact like that is unusual for a rookie.
“It’s rare,” Toub said. “So when they do show up, you have to take notice.”
Venable didn’t play much special teams in his two seasons at Boise State, mostly because he was too valuable on defense. The 5-11, 210-pounder transferred to the school in 2009 after spending two years at Glendale Community College in Arizona.
Venable’s ticket to earning a roster spot with the Bears, however, will come on special teams. “For him, it’s critical,” Toub said. “Right now he would be considered maybe the fifth safety. You’re not going to keep five safeties unless he’s a great special teams player, so for him it’s the most important thing.”
Venable hopes to make the most of his final opportunity to impress Thursday night when the Bears close their preseason slate by hosting the Cleveland Browns.
“It’ll be a big night,” Venable said. “I’m just going to continue to try to make some plays, but not necessarily push too much to try and just try to let some things come to me. “I’m trying to play well on defense and show that I could have the potential to do that in the long term and continue to make those plays on special teams.”
Venable isn’t the only professional athlete in his family. His father, Max, played 12 years in the major leagues and his brother, Will, is currently an outfielder with the San Diego Padres. Asked why he didn’t pursue a baseball career, Winston joked: “Sometimes I ask myself that same question. “But a lot of people don’t know that my dad was a big-time high school football player, so I think I’ve got a little bit of that in me. Baseball is fun to play, but I have a little more passion for the game of football.”