LB Position Main Thread..............

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. B-ell-y-iot

    B-ell-y-iot Veteran SuperFan

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    I think Williams was out there with the first team but it wasn't included on this report because it's not news. When Greene was mentioned it was explicitly mentioned that he played in the nickel formation where the normal starters are Bostic and Briggs. I think in standard formation with a WLB, MLB and SLB it was either Bostic, Williams, SMac, Williams, Greene and SMac, or Bostic, Greene, Williams.

    I think it's a good thing to see Greene out there more, even if it is just today. He's had a good camp so far and played well in his first showing this year, in my opinion better than SMac or Bostic, so he's earned the opportunity. I hope they give him aded reps in Thursday's game.

    I don't know what to make of the Franklin move. Maybe they're just giving him some looks so they can make evaluations on all the players... Probably. I haven't seen his name called at all, though he might have been in their during the 4th quarter and I just didn't recognize him.

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    While I still have editing rights to this post, let me add in this article from the Tribune about SMac
    Bears LB coach: McClellin ''will be fine'
    By Rich Campbell, Tribune reporter

    Shea McCellin's game debut at linebacker consisted of 29 snaps in the Chicago Bears' exhibition-opening victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday. In other words, it was not a large enough sample size for linebackers coach Reggie Herring to finalize any conclusions about McClellin's conversion from defensive end.

    That said, Herring is optimistic about McClellin's future because of how the Bears' 2012 first-round pick has progressed.

    "The bottom line is he’s out here and he has had an excellent camp, a nice OTAs," Herring said Monday. "He moves as good as any of these other linebackers. He has made plays as good as any backer out here. It’s a matter of game experience, playing fast and adjusting to certain things he hasn’t seen in a couple years. At the end of the day, it has got to be a process. And I think by the end of training camp here, I think everything will be fine. Because at the end of the day, you either can hunt or you can’t. Football is football. You’re either physical or you’re not. So it is a process."

    Herring was asked whether McClellin has the instincts required to play off the line of scrimmage at linebacker. "He has got great instincts," Herring said. "Take him squirrel hunting. He’ll knock the eyes out of 'em. Don’t shoot those brown ones. Those brown ones are precious. Especially in Illinois."

    That sprung Herring on a 1-minute, 40-second tangent about squirrels. It got a bit silly. But if you're curious, you can read more about Illinois squirrels here.Circling back to McClellin, Herring continued his endorsement.

    "He's committed. he works hard, and to be honest with you, there's times out there when he moves better than all of them--change of direction, instincts, breaking on the ball," he said. "It's a process. Y'all be patient. At the end of the day, we'll know after the first game, second game, where we're at with him. But right now, he's on schedule. He needs to play more games, and I really believe that he'll be a solid player for us."

    rcampbell@tribune.com
    Twitter @Rich_Campbell
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
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  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Kind of but didn't LT play WLB in a 4-3 or were the Giants playing a 3-4 in those days. I don't recall. But yeah, if they can't get what they need to out of him as a 3 down guy then move him around like GB does with Matthews and use him on obvious passing downs.

    I think he has all the skills he needs to either rush or drop in coverage he just needs some work doing it. Using him that way keeps him free of blockers most of the time except when he's on the attack rushing or penetrating and when he's on the move he's very tough if not almost impossible to keep blocked.
  3. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Pretty much 100% in line with what most of us saw. He's not a guy who can stack and shed blockers but then neither could Urlacher so that alone isn't a deal breaker. Just keep him on the move laterally or let him attack downhill where he influences the blocker and RB and on the move he'll be much harder to take out of any play.

    Coverage is just something he needs enough to work to develop a feel for. He has size, speed, and instincts to draw on all he lacks is experience and that just comes from playing. Urlacher was better at it right off the bat because he was a Monster SS in college and Shea wasn't but he can learn.

    I just keep thinking that if we use him like Lovie used Urlacher or maybe even more like Jauron did with more two gap line play in front of him that allows him to attack the gaps hard that he'll succeed no matter which LB spot he plays. He just need to use his instincts to find the ball like he did at BSU and keep playing downhill always.

    If they play him behind Ratliff and Houston at SAM then he should have decent protection from those two or even in the middle with Paea and Ratliff holding up blockers but he has to react fast and come through the gap at the ball carrier and either nail him or force him to alter his timing or his path. McClellin can't play in a passive role. He has to attack.
  4. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    That wouldn't be playing to Briggs strengths either and I doubt that moving a perennial Pro Bowl WLB around is gonna be a difference maker. Briggs needs to roam and hit too so he's an ideal WILL and so is Bostic IMHO but they're trying to get versatility out of this new bunch and so far it's falling far short of plan.
  5. dachuckster

    dachuckster Veteran SuperFan

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    I don't know if that was the Bear's motivation in today's practice. But I was listening to an interview with Reggie Herring this afternoon. For both Shea and Greene he basically said the all you can do is coach them up and get them lots of reps (my paraphrasing). He seemed a bit defensive about Shea and was almost glowing about Greene (again just my impression from the interview).
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  6. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    He has good reason to be defensive about Shea, that's his GM's 1st 1st round pick, and a lot of egg will be on your bosses face if/when that kid fails, and on his first big stage he failed.
  7. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    They show a lot of BSU games out here and in those I saw he played far more as a DE/LB from a two point stance and if he was playing from a 3 point stance they had him lined up wide so he could come off the snap and be on the move before the OT ever had a chance to square up on him. They also moved him around left to right and even in the middle playing as a rusher or penetrating DT/LB from a two point stance. The idea seemed to be all about keeping him as unblocked as possible because if teams could get a big OL on him they could stop him. Well, that much hasn't changed has it?

    So when they scouted him it's hard for me to understand why they didn't see this if I could. I was pretty shocked when after the draft they declared him a LDE and said that's where he played in college. Yeah he played some there and everywhere else too but BSU never used him as a conventional 4-3 LDE because he didn't have the size for it. Right now he's playing at the same weight he did in college and if we were gonna play him as a DE then it should have been at RDE on the weak side so he was playing in pursuit on most running plays or playing contain by stringing the play out wide. Forcing him to play smashmouth football with a 330lb OT in his grill a split second after the snap was just plain stupid.

    Now we talk about teaching him to stack and shed as a LB but if the other guys are sending those same 320-330lb OL after him he's not gonna handle it any better at LB than he did at DE. Here's the bottom line and I'm making it as plain vanilla as I can.

    Either they stop trying to make him into what he isn't and allow him to play to his strengths as Lovie did with Urlacher or it's time to admit that Phil fucked this pick up from the get to by believing that with Shea's athleticism they could remake him into their image of him. They couldn't turn him into a 265-270 LDE who could handle blockers and pass rush and they aren't gonna make a 245lb stack and shed LB out of him either. This is the point of my frustration. Just let him be what he is and use that productively. They have always been trying to whittle him into fitting what they want rather than letting him just play football and I'm getting tired of that.

    Either scheme him so he can be effective or trade him to a team who can but to me this whole operation is like what we went through with Grossman at QB. Either you play guys like that in a fashion that takes advantage of what they can do or don't even draft them in the first place. Phil keeps saying he wants the kid on the field as a 3 down player but I have to wonder if that's just so he doesn't look so foolish for drafting him to begin with. He can be a 3 down player if they use him correctly but if not than use him as a rusher off the edge.

    I love McClellin and I've been a huge supporter ever since he arrived but as soon as I saw him struggle to keep his weight at 260lbs or above and saw that whatever time he spent in a weight room wasn't adding any muscle bulk it was time to call off the plan to play him at DE and start him learning to play MLB under Urlacher. Urlacher liked him and could have taught him a lot that he's still trying to learn. I 'll believe in Reggie Herring and his summation for now but until I see the results I'm gonna stay frustrated by all this.

    You're probably right. If he was a 3rd or 4th round pick maybe all of our expectations would be different but he was worth more than that and maybe it was Jones we should have taken if we wanted a 4-3 DE and left Shea for the Pats to use as a 3-4 OLB. But I don't play Madden or FF so I'll deal with the reality of what we have. I just hope the Bears begin dealing with it too and they stop trying to make him into their image of him. If you ask me that's been half the problem with his lack on confidence. He'll do whatever they ask of him but maybe it's time to stop asking him to do what he's not all that good at. Some days I wish Shea would just grow a set and tell them to either let him play HIS game or trade him somewhere that he can.

    I can guarantee that if the Packers had taken him like they wanted to we'd be in a lot more trouble coping with both him and Matthews as OLBs than we're gonna be with Pep up there now. McClellin is built to play OLB in a 3-4 but that doesn't mean he can't also play SLB and MLB in a 4-3 if they scheme him right. I'm waiting for that to happen and not so patiently any more.
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  8. B-ell-y-iot

    B-ell-y-iot Veteran SuperFan

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    Khaseem Greene no longer overthinking it

    August, 11, 2014
    By Jeff Dickerson | ESPN.com

    BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Linebacker Khaseem Greene admittedly struggled to acclimate himself to the speed of the NFL game last season when a shoulder injury to Lance Briggs thrust the rookie into the starting lineup for four games.

    But with a year of experience under his belt, Greene has quietly pieced together an impressive camp, and even spent Monday’s practice next to Jon Bostic on first-team nickel with Briggs taking a veteran’s day off.

    “It’s slowed down a lot for me this year,” Greene said. “I’m seeing stuff quicker. I’m being able to just be a natural football player and just use my instincts to react. The game definitely has slowed down. It’s fun now. I’m not overthinking it.

    “The older guys always say that it will slow down once you get a grasp of the playbook and learn how to start studying opponents. Guys say those skills come with age and from the experience of doing it. I feel like from last year to this year, I’ve made a big jump as far as the game slowing down. I’m now able to read and react.”

    The jury is still out regarding the number of linebackers the Bears plan to keep on the 53-man roster. With Briggs and Bostic already locks to make the team, the remaining linebacker spots are between D.J. Williams, Shea McClellin, Jordan Senn, Christian Jones, Jerry Franklin and Greene.

    It will be interesting to see which players are pushed out if the Bears decide to keep six at the position.

    Williams and McClellin appear safe if they stay healthy, but the picture is cloudy after the top four.

    Greene figures to be intriguing because he has value on special teams where he recorded two tackles last year, in addition to defense. Senn is a core special-teamer, but isn’t considered much of a contributor at linebacker. The 6-foot-3 Jones, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Florida State, had a rough game versus the Eagles, but performed well the first couple weeks of camp. Perhaps the potential upside of Jones proves too irresistible to resist if the rookie can be trusted on special teams. And Franklin, who also received increased reps in Monday's practice, played in 13 games over two seasons with the Bears, recording eight tackles.

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    Bears still optimisic about McClellin

    August, 11, 2014
    By Michael C. Wright | ESPN.com

    BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Shea McClellin produced a lackluster debut at linebacker Friday during theChicago Bears' preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, but the staff remains optimistic about his transition.

    A first-round pick drafted to play defensive end in 2012, McClellin moved to linebacker in the offseason after two pedestrian seasons as a pass-rusher. Against the Eagles, McClellin struggled in his first live outing at linebacker.

    He missed tackles, struggled to shed blocks, and took bad pursuit angles. But those struggles weren’t exclusive to McClellin, though, as pretty much every player at the position experienced an up-and-down evening. McClellin just happens to fall under the microscope more often because of his first-round pedigree.

    "It’s one of those things where he’s working at it," defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. "We see him do it at practice. He looks very instinctive at practice. We saw him make sudden movements and quick decisions in the game. I think he’s already doing that to a certain extent. We just have to get better."

    Perhaps the most important component of that process is placing McClellin into as many live-game situations as possible so he can become more comfortable playing the position. Believe it or not, against Philadelphia, the Bears drew a difficult assignment given the first-team defense faced the Eagles’ potent no-huddle offense, which features plenty of zone-read concepts, in a situation in which the club hadn’t game-planned for the opposition.

    Such a scenario makes for a chaotic opening few series, but once the defense settled in, McClellin started to improve, and he finished the game with two stops. The truth is the staff isn’t looking for McClellin to light it up immediately, because it knows firsthand the challenge the linebacker is facing in making the transition from defensive end.

    What the staff hopes to see from McClellin are gradual steps toward becoming the starter on the strong side.

    "The bottom line is that Shea has shown enough out here to believe he has linebacker instincts," linebackers coach Reggie Herring said. "I think he’s gonna be fine," Herring added. "He’s committed. He works hard. To be honest with you, there are times out there when he moves better than all of them. He changes directions, instincts, breaking on the ball, it’s a process. Y’all be patient. We’ll know after the first game, second game, where we’re at with him. Right now, he’s on schedule. He needs to play more games. He needs more at-bats, and I really believe that he’ll come and be a solid player for us. That’s my prediction."
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  9. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Franklin has been around for a couple of years after coming is as an UDFA. He's made some plays on STeams and in preseason but always seems to be one step short of making the final cut. He's pretty much a true 3-4 ILB or a MLB in a 4-3 but he can probably play SLB too.

    No reason not to take a look at him at LB but going off of a peripheral need here it may be just to see if he can bring enough as a position player to be worth keeping as a Steam guy. In his interview Joe D was saying that they need to find their 8 core 4 way players on STeams and that's a spot where Franklin has fit well in the past.

    It seems to me that the last guys they'll keep at LB, TE, RB, S, and CB are the guys who can bolster the STeams and that will dictate how many guys they can keep at each position. It's always a numbers game at the final cut and I don't think Franklin has anymore PS eligibility so it may be either keep him or release him and let him catch on elsewhere.

    The first round of cuts come up after this weekend.
  10. jackiejokeman

    jackiejokeman Pro-Bowler

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    After a mostly invisible preseason debut in rain-drenched Tennessee, Julius Peppers rebounded against the St. Louis Rams Saturday to look more like the active, disruptive edge player the Green Bay Packers need this season.

    The 34-year-old Peppers played into the second quarter, seeing 22 snaps over two series with the rest of the first-team defense. While his 10 soggy snaps against the Titans in monsoon-like conditions a week ago were underwhelming, Peppers gave the Packers defense seven positive plays and at least two pass disruptions in St. Louis, based off my own film study of the contest.

    Pro Football Focus graded Peppers at plus 1.8, good for the fourth-best grade on the Green Bay defense against the Rams. He was credited with one quarterback hit and one "stop," which PFF considers a tackle constituting an offensive failure.

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