Thursday was a night of close calls and checked anger. It started off with take out dinner from Chipotle that made me late for the start of the game. It accelerated when I discovered NFL Preseason Live – a service I paid $20 for – blacked out the game due to contract restrictions with ESPN. It was boiling when I went to my backup NFL Mobile account and discovered it wasn’t broadcasting the game either. I was almost in self destruct mode when I finally found a broadcast of the game on ESPN. This maddening start to the 2nd preseason game didn’t bode well for my neighbors – I was angry and I had on my critical lens for the linebackers. Screams would be unleaded. Swears words would abound… But they didn’t…I didn’t spit out a curse with the last name Bostic, McClellin although I must admit a few were unleashed especially at Mr. Reliable, Eric Weems. Big picture, I’m like a lot of dabears forum fans and have my doubts about Shea McClellin (Smac) and some reservations about Bostic, but I saw a lot of good out of both players in the Jaguar’s game Thursday night. The big indicator of this was the realization I wasn’t screaming their names at my computer screen. Because I enjoy football analysis I decided to put together a film that demonstrates some of the improvements I saw with these players. My written analysis follows it up. Overall, both players showed a lot of improvement that I think is a direct growth from last week’s errors. Smac was playing frantically on Friday two weeks ago. The plays were coming in too fast. He didn’t know his position. He wasn’t anticipating anything. He wasn’t fluid. He lost his space in coverage a couple of times. He couldn’t disengage once a blocker got inside on him due to his poor body positioning. Each of these weaknesses were addressed, to some degree, in Thursday’s game. SMac, partially because the offense wasn’t as quick with the play calls as the Eagles and partially because he’s become more used to it after the last outing, knew his role on each play. I never saw him out of position in my multiple reviews of his game. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t but it means he didn’t blow position so bad it was noticeable by an amateur football follower like myself. Against the Jags he knew what to do and so he played with more energy and aggressiveness, getting off the snap quicker and with more intent than the previous week. This intentional aggressiveness allowed him to properly position himself when being blocked so that he kept an arm free at all times to disengage the blocker. This allowed him to escape blocks while pursing the play. It also allowed him to edge up the corner. Because he was able to shed blockers and because he knew his role he made more plays. The most noticeable, though maybe not most impressive, part of his game was against the run. These situations showcased his improvements. Shea's coverage looked good too. He knew his coverage responsibilities and stuck to them. While he wasn’t a lock down linebacker, he always was in good position to potentially disrupt plays and to ensure, at the least, the big play didn’t occur. Maybe more impressively, he seemed to know his teammate’s assignments in coverage which allowed him to tighten up his mental responsibilities and focus on his assignments. I was very impressed with the steps he took in this game. That is not to say he’s a beast of a backer, but it does show improvement and potential and it works to dismiss some of my doubt about him as a player. Bostic was more impressive. Sure he had the great TFL(tackle for loss) in the run game early on, but throughout the game he showed that aggressiveness and discipline in coverage, in gap blitzing, and in the run game. Furthermore, he was getting the play calls out in a quick manner as the MLB with the 2nd team defense AND doing his job. This increased the productivity of the whole second team defense (see Smac above). I didn’t see Bostic’s notorious over pursuit in Thursday’s game when I went back and watched. I know that’s been a critique of his on these boards and on NFL talk shows, but it didn’t show up dramatically Again, that doesn’t mean he didn’t but it means he didn’t do it so bad it was noticeable by an amateur football follower). Bostic didn’t shy away from blocks, he took them on with purposeful aggression, got good position, and shed them more often than not, to make the play or the assist. Bostic was constantly around the football. On 75-85% of the plays he was in the thick of the action even when it wasn’t his assignment. He showed determination and desire to bolster his team and I loved seeing that from him. Finally, his coverage was strong. He put himself in great position in the zone schemes. He seemed to have a better sense of space and coverage responsibilities in that space. When he locked up with tight ends or receivers he was able to keep stride, for the most part, and dissuade the quarterback from reading into his receiver. When the ball was thrown his way he was quick to react and hit. I really liked what I saw from him in this game. That doesn’t mean he was perfect or that there aren’t things that we could critique him for, but he showed a lot of bounce from last week’s game and I will be looking for continued improvements in the next preseason game, the biggest test of the preseason, against a good Seattle Team.