Young hopes to help Bears with length, toughness

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by short faced bear, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    By Rich Campbell and Dan Wiederer, Tribune reporters

    7:42 p.m. CDT, March 13, 2014

    General manager Phil Emery entered free agency this week on a mission to find two starting defensive ends to fortify the Bears’ beleaguered front.

    He completed that task Thursday morning when he signed Willie Young to a three-year, $9 million contract that includes $4 million guaranteed. He joins newly-signed free-agent end Lamarr Houston as the faces of a defense that aims to be more unpredictable and versatile in coordinator Mel Tucker’s second season.

    “Offenses are going to have to figure out some kind of way to stop two guys who are coming off the edge with no intentions other than to harass quarterbacks,” the former Lions end said via a media teleconference.

    Young had three sacks and 47 tackles, seven for loss, last season. With the Lions, the four-year veteran learned to wait and learn from older veterans.

    For his first three seasons, he had Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril as mentors. Last year, with Vanden Bosch retired and Avril heading to the Seahawks as a free agent, Young had an opening to showcase all he had learned.

    Emery was attracted to Young’s length — he’s 6 feet 4, 251 pounds — and toughness.

    “He has 35-inch arms,” Emery said. “He uses that advantage to gain leverage and separation. He has strong hands, a good punch. He’s a good athlete with a lot of upside.”

    Emery also noted Young’s experience in playing on the right and left sides. Although Young played about four times as many snaps on the left last season than the right, according to Emery’s count, Emery hasn’t penciled Young or Houston into either side. He will wait until the roster is filled out later in the spring.


    Young’s first two seasons at North Carolina State in 2005-06 were also Bears coach Marc Trestman’s two years as the Wolfpack’s offensive coordinator. Emery scouted Young later in Young’s college career.

    “One thing that has been hitting my eyes since I first saw Willie at North Carolina State is how passionate and hard this guy plays the game,” Emery said. “He’s really an old-school player.

    “I guess it’s a little sensitive to use the word violence in relationship to football anymore, but he’s a tough, physical player who really has learned to use his length. And he just gets after it. He has really good pursuit and instincts to get around the ball and get involved in plays as both a pass rusher and a run defender.”

    Also agreeing to a deal Thursday was receiver Domenik Hixon. He will compete to return kicks on a one-year contract, Emery said, as the club seeks to replace Devin Hester.

    Hixon, who was listed at 6-2, 205 with the Panthers last season, hasn’t returned kickoffs since 2009 with the Giants, when he averaged 22.6 yards on 57 returns. He last returned punts in 2012, gaining a total of 36 yards on five attempts. He has one touchdown on 80 career kickoff returns and one touchdown in 56 career punt returns.

    The Bears also re-signed tight end Dante Rosario for the second time in two weeks.

    As for defensive tackle Henry Melton, the Bears might not have the money or might not be willing to meet his demands if Melton’s effort to gauge his value on the open market drags on, Emery cautioned.

    Melton’s visit to the Vikings on Thursday was expected to continue Friday, ESPN reported.

    “I think he still has some teams to visit,” Emery said. “We pretty much left it with Jordan (Woy), his agent, that he was going to go through this process, and when he got through it and he had a pretty good idea what his market is, we could talk at that time.

    “Of course, the clock is ticking, so our resources and what we have at that time may have changed. But we’ll see where we’re at when that is all finished.”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/chi-willie-young-bears-20140313,0,4418634.story
  2. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    It's a good start to the DL, if they could get Melton and Wootton back, the DL might be set w/a ton of guys that can play up and down the line. Might not be able to do that though. W/all the Versatility along the line, I wonder if the Bears might end up wanting a guy more like Hageman who can be a 4-3 DT or a 3-4 DE over just a straight up 4-3 DT only.
  3. BearDownUnder

    BearDownUnder Veteran

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    I get nervous when a scout talks about athletic abilities above production or talent. Sounds like McLellin again. But Emery was right with Long as a guard. 250lbs seen very light on for a DE and he doesn't have the big Detroit DT's covering him either. So I hope he can stand up to the run. If Houston plays RDE and has Biggs behind him then Young at LDE is going to have a RB's coming at him. Might find himself relegated to 3rd down specialist with Bass or another veteran stopping the run.
  4. butkus3595

    butkus3595 Pro-Bowler

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    Production? 47 tackles, 60 QB pressures. He didn't seem to have a problem playing the run last year. Weight isn't an issue, it's technique and using leverage. Cliff Avril is only 260...he's a very effective D-End. Not that this really tells you anything about how strong he is, but he did get 25 reps at 225 at the combine...so if we're using that as a guide he's generally strong. At 6'5'' 250 he should be able to take on RB's and win. Listen, if the rest of our line gets hurt like it did last year it won't matter who's in there. If not, we will have enough where Young will be effective. I think we need to get away from our ideas with how this defense is going to operate. This isn't lovies defense anymore...you don't just have to get pressure from the lineman.
  5. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    also while I can see how people would think the Det DL w/guys like Suh on it would help a guy like Young, wouldn't it also impact his stats? W/a guy as powerfull and fast as Suh, how are you going to rack up stats? Ya teams are gaming planning for Young w/him there, but they aren't going to game plan for him here either.

    I know it's a bit off topic, but regarding Houston, not sure who it was but 670 had a NFL guy on and he seemed to think that based on Emery's he got the idea would be he would see a lot of DT, it's also something that Sox had mentioned when we first signed him so it's quite possible that DT is set, and it's DE/CB/S that are draft needs right now.
  6. butka

    butka Veteran

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    I think it's critical that we still get another pass rusher up the middle. It's always been my philosophy that interior pressure is far more effective than outside pressure. Of course, you'd like both, but if I had to pick one or the other to excel at, I'll take some filthy DTs all day long. We need someone to raise hell up the middle. I've watched the top DT prospects (ones with 1st round grades) and I really think Aaron Donald would be a hell of a draft pick for this line. The guy gets off the ball like a bat out of hell compared to the rest. Timmy Jernigan shows up in a lot of mock drafts for us, but I'm not so sure he's worth it at 14. I think he's going to be great against the run, and he's very strong in his upper body on film. He'll need to greatly improve the explosiveness in his legs if he's going to be an impact pass rusher though.
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  7. DaTreeBears

    DaTreeBears Pro-Bowler

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    Its nice they effected Detroit's D-lines depth. Always good when you steal one away in our division very nice.

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