Ten Pre-Camp Plot Lines Emerge From OTAs..................

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, Jun 21, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    10 big plot lines coming up for the Bears
    7

    BY ADAM L. JAHNS Staff Reporter June 21, 2014 12:38AM

    [​IMG]
    Rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller (front) has been burned at times and needs the receivers to test him in camp. | Brian Kersey/Getty Images

    Updated: June 21, 2014 12:39AM


    Coach Marc Trestman wrapped up the Bears’ mandatory minicamp by wishing everyone a wonderful summer and was quickly asked if a vacation was in his future. ‘‘No,’’ he said, ‘‘but I’ll be taking a break.’’

    That may change with a month available to suntan and golf before the Bears report to Bourbonnais for training camp. But Trestman’s parting message is one he’ll surely live by himself. ‘‘It’s time to get away the next few weeks until training camp, but it’s not a vacation,’’ he said. ‘‘They have to have a plan to get ready to go, to optimize their strength and conditioning and to continue to develop their skills.’’

    With that in mind, here are 10 things gleaned during the Bears’ offseason work that will bear watching once camp opens.

    1. All linebackers will play
    D.J. Williams, Jon Bostic and Shea McClellin may be competing for starting spots, but there should be enough roles for all in coordinator Mel Tucker’s defense. Bostic may start in the nickel package and Williams in the middle of the base defense while McClellin becomes the blitzing linebacker/situational rusher that Tucker envisions.

    2. Mending the cracks
    Having every starter back on the offensive line is one thing. Keeping them there is another. Maintenance plans are in order, especially for guard Matt Slauson (offseason shoulder surgery) and second-year tackle Jordan Mills (foot surgery after an injury in Week 17).

    3. Jimmy’s second chance
    Now that’s he’s booked for Bourbonnais, can former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen become the next Josh McCown? ‘‘The right place at the right time, and that’s not just football,’’ Clausen said. It wasn’t his limited practice work that resonated with the Bears but what he added to the quarterbacks room the last two weeks. So look out, Jordan Palmer.

    4. Salty with spice
    The chemistry developing among the defensive linemen — especially starters Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Jeremiah Ratliff and Stephen Paea — might be the most exciting thing brewing for the Bears, especially after the unit was last in sacks in 2013.

    5. Some special openings
    Returner Devin Hester (with the Atlanta Falcons) and long snapper Patrick Mannelly (retired) leave significant holes. Neither Eric Weems nor Chris Williams has emerged as the favorite at returner. Long snappers Chad Rempel and Brandon Hartson, meanwhile, know there’s a definite roster spot to be won.

    6. Marquess Wilson’s rise
    Earl Bennett who? Wilson has had a strong offseason, gaining weight and strength and noticeably becoming a better receiver with the guidance of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. But will the lack of strong competition hurt him at camp?

    7. A safety battle looms
    The fight for free safety is just beginning. Rookie Brock Vereen has the lead, but Chris Conte (offseason shoulder surgery) is expected back in the preseason. Tucker expressed excitement over it. Conte has started 40 games over the last three seasons.

    8. More work for Fuller
    Rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller had his good moments during the offseason workouts but also some less-mentioned bad ones, including getting beaten badly in man coverage by Wilson and Jeffery during minicamp. He’s going to play plenty in 2014, and a training camp spent combating the Bears’ receivers will help.

    9. Better roster battles
    A year ago, veteran defensive lineman Israel Idonije would have been a lock for the Bears. Now he’s looking for work after being cut after an uneventful minicamp spent mostly with third- and fourth-teamers. His departure is a sign of the improved competition.

    10. Jay Cutler’s success
    Everything is looking up for Cutler with his growing family and situation at Halas Hall. So what does Year 2 of absolute happiness bring?

    Email: ajahns@suntimes.com
  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I mentioned in another post that from what I could see we actually have four LBs capable of starting which in this defense probably allows for some creativity and role playing. It should be really interesting to see how this develops over the next few months.

    Jimmy Clausen is like a late entry in a horse race who starts at the back of the pack but brings on a strong challenge down the back stretch. The #2 spot is no longer a gimme for Jordan Palmer so this battle should be both interesting and beneficial.

    Can't wait to see what this new DLine does up against our OLine in camp. It should make both units better especially with players like Bushrod/Allen, Slauson/Paea, Long/Ratliff, Mills/Houston going at it against one another everyday. Those oughta be some tough practices.

    As sad as I am to see Izzy go it only means that either players like Bass and Washington are improving or that Emery's vet offseason DE acquisitions are simply younger and better. When you add a couple of these guys to the three starters I'd say we won't be lacking in depth this year.

    I'm looking forward to Cutler taking another major step forward and to the contributions guys like Fuller, Vereen, and Wilson will make. The caliber of our younger talent seems to be on the rise and we have a nice mix of youth and experienced vets most of whom are Pro Bowl level players.
  3. DavidL

    DavidL Pro-Bowler SuperFan

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    Nice to see Vereen making his move to put Conte on the bench.
  4. sluggobear

    sluggobear Veteran

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    It is nice to see we finally have some competition to become a Bear player. I wonder, if any player we cut loose are picked up by other teams. That would be a sign we are establishing depth.

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