Bostic Now Challenging for Starting MLB Job..........

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Jon Bostic already challenging for Bears No. 1 MLB job

    June 10, 2014, 10:45 pm

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    For the first time since Brian Urlacher was thrust into the No. 1 spot at middle linebacker in early 2000, a genuine position battle is underway at middle linebacker even with the start of training camp still six weeks distant.

    Jon Bostic and D.J. Williams are now splitting time as the No. 1 middle linebacker, with Bostic making a strong impression even in non-contact OTA sessions, sources told CSNChicago.com. Put another way, Williams is not a “given” as the No. 1 this year.

    Positions are not really won or lost until training camp and even then not without some strong showings in preseason games. But Bostic has significantly raised the stakes despite training camp not starting until late July, and he’s doing it not necessarily where he was expected to truly compete for a starting job.

    Bostic was expected to compete primarily with Shea McClellin for the No. 1 strong-side linebacker job. But Bostic said last week that he has been positioned at all three spots.

    Teammates confirmed that McClellin’s play at his new position has been excellent. And Bostic is generally considered to have the most pure explosive, sudden speed of all the linebackers. Factor those elements in and the Bears could very conceivably open 2014 with their No. 1 and No. 2 draft picks from Phil Emery’s first two drafts starting.

    Stretching the hypothetical a little further: Lance Briggs has been a fixture as one of the nickel linebackers, and is the only linebacker with a guaranteed position going into this offseason. But at 33 (34 in November), Briggs is not the speed linebacker he was when he and Urlacher never left the field, even in dime packages.

    McClellin has worked in coverage at Boise State and Bostic’s speed and quickness lend themselves to dropping into coverage. That Bostic and McClellin could be three-down linebackers by Week 1 or at some point this season and beyond can’t be ruled out.

    When the Bears notified Urlacher in March 2013 that they were parting ways with their longtime franchise middle linebacker, then signed Williams two days later, the decision on a starting middle linebacker for 2013 was effectively made. When they drafted Bostic a month later, Williams was the unquestioned starter even as he missed virtually all of training camp and preseason.

    When Williams re-signed this March, an assumption was that the veteran was again a given as the starting middle linebacker despite missing the last 10 games last season with a torn pectoral muscle – that in addition to the fact that Bostic had not particularly distinguished himself as Williams’ 2013 replacement.

    That assumption is on hold.
  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    It's interesting to see how things are shaking out following the OTAs. Nobody has actually won or lost a position yet but the coaches seem to be getting them lined up in the way they'd like to see them compete once the pads go on in camp.

    FWIW it seems that McClellin is adapting well to playing SLB with the first team which is of course what Phil Emery certainly wants to see. It would be embarrassing to see your very first draft pick become a bust. He's also been working with the second team at MLB and I really don't care where he plays as long as he plays like the player we drafted him to be.

    If McClellin locks down SLB and Briggs is safe for this year then that leaves Bostic and DWill battling for the #1 spot at MLB and if the pieces are starting to fall into place for him as direct result of the coaching he's been getting then maybe just maybe he'll take that spot over this year. It would be even nicer if he and McClellin were basically interchangeable at those two spots.

    I still think Bostic's best spot is at WLB because he's that same type of fast tackling machine Briggs has been for so many years but if Christian Jones develops the way some think he can then he may also be a guy who can take over at that spot and there's still Khaseem Greene to consider if he ever learns how to play at this level and Jordan Senn provides some immediate depth for now.

    The battle for the LB spots should actually be one of the most interesting to watch this summer.
  3. 4dabers

    4dabers Veteran DBS Writer

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    I hope this battle is the result of Bostic getting better rather than Williams losing a step. I tend to think it is the former. Bostic has shown the glimpses of a good to very good LB, and I'm really inclined to believe the majority of his problems last year had to do with the adjustment of a rookie to the speed of the NFL combined with the multitude of injuries and turmoil that resulted on the Defense. This is a new year and Bostic is in a perfect position to take the the job if he wants it and works for it.

    It takes a superior athlete (and I mean a sick level athlete) to come in as a rookie and make a mark as a starter. I never like to hold rookies too accountable. Bostic has the benefit in year two of having much more playing time than a lot of 2nd year players, and I am hopeful that will pay dividends in his own speed, knowledge and overall confidence. We are now witnessing the silver lining from all those injuries; that being experience of young guys and expedited development.
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  4. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas Staff Member

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    Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing
  5. Jimmors

    Jimmors The Rhymenoceros Staff Member SuperFan

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    probably. have to remember that he was tossed into a very difficult situation as a rookie, going to full blown starter on a D riddled with injuries.
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  6. Grizzblue

    Grizzblue Pro-Bowler

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    I've been saying this all off season. I was adamantly against taking a high LB prospect and I think we got enormous value with Jones. He has just as much of a chance of panning out and shocking us down the road as anyone not named Mosley or Borland, and there was no reason to take a very high pick on a LB. We have young depth at the position all around. We all know how bad Bostic looked last year, as well as the entire unit. I am really interested to see how he can improve with new coaching, and more importantly a real defensive line in front of him. A healthy Ratliff, Collins, and Paea with the added beef of Ferguson and Sutton will help keep whoever our MLB is clean, and stall combo blocks.

    All in all, we have alot of youth with talent and upside on our rosters now. Can't write off Bostic or Greene after one year on a historically bad unit, nor can you write off Shea and Jones who have yet to play a snap.

    Glad to see there will be some good camp battles with many potential starters fighting it out. It just means that whoever wins the job will be that much better and more proven, and we have a backup option.
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  7. Chicago_66

    Chicago_66 Veteran

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    Jones could be this years Vontaze Burfict of sorts. I wanted Burfict but he had loads of red flags but look at him now, guys an animal. How great would it be to have Greene, McClellin, Bostic and Jones all playing great ball. Would be such a stellar crew to be boasting.
  8. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Yep so far that was well played. Emery's never above taking a risk on someone if the talent is there and the guy is a straight shooter who realizes he made a mistake. I'm sure Jones was disappointed and yet I didn't hear any bitterness come from him. Just a desire to show other teams what a mistake they made. I like his chances of becoming a very good LB.
  9. BSBEARS

    BSBEARS Pro-Bowler

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    I would love to see McC and Bostic starting. Hopefully Greene can replace Briggs when he retires or UDFA Christian Jones can get in the competition somewhere. Would be really nice to draft for future starters and depth next year but have the starters in place. If LB is set we may need a CB if Tillman retires but after that we could really be in a position to take the BPA (Best Player Available)

    If Bostic, McC, Greene, and C. Jones can start or push for starting jobs it gives us good depth and rotation capabilities as Briggs and DJ are no longer spring chickens if football terms. Knowing the back-up is capable of stepping in is great, and if the young guys can step in now it just makes the future look that much brighter.
  10. Ojibway Bob

    Ojibway Bob Veteran SuperFan

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    ahhhh That would be nice to be able to pick the BPA like BS above mentioned...

    First BPA then SB.....or will it be SB then BPA
  11. jbunch14

    jbunch14 Veteran

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    Bostic was excellent at FL, and faced the toughest competition in all of CFB. He is smart and very athletic. He also has the size to play in the middle, and I wouldn't mind him sticking there at all. Glad to hear all of the great news on Shea as well. He has had a fabulous offseason so far, and has really embraced the change to LB. I think he will be a big positive for the D this year. I liked Greene coming out of college, but I think C Jones is the better player, looking at the tape, and I think he could move into Briggs spot next season. He is also a very good tackler, and has the athleticism to rush off the edge and tackle. We could end up with three very good LB prospects, and if that pans out we will ALL be worshiping the ground PE walks on!!
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  12. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Yep, when I watched Jones' college game vids I was shocked no one drafted him. To me he looked as good as any LB in the draft and actually before that failed drug test he was rated as high as a potential 1st round pick before the 2013 season. He looks like a big, fast, tackling machine to me and he has the goods to blitz as well. I'm really hoping it's not all a mirage like Greene turned out to be.

    Bostic seems like a smart kid who was probably in way over his head last year as a starter and my guess is that he had very little coaching help. That should all change this year and from his comments and those of his coaches it appears to be the case. I'm fine with him at MLB as long as he can pick up the defense enough to make the play calls. Briggs actually sucks at it.

    The best news about McClellin is that the other vets are praising the way he's looked in the OTAs. He has the talent and I also believe he's a very proud kid who wants to be trusted and accepted by his team. He played hard at DE and did what they expected of him as far as creating some pressure as a pass rusher but they put him in a very bad spot as far as run defense.

    So far Greene looks like a wasted pick. Maybe it was just his lack of knowledge and comfort in the defense last year but he played timid. He wasn't getting into position to make tackles or sacrificing himself to strip blockers so others could. He was beyond just bad. So we'll see what another year of camp does for him but if he make it it's gonna be because he becomes a STeams star.

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