Yes, we might get hit with the dreaded injury bug – or get hit with a killer asteroid, too. With the signing of Jared Allen we ‘jumped’ up the charts. Now with the drafting of Will Sutton we are definitely up there with the elite. I am not forgetting Ego Ferguson, in the least; expect him to contribute big time in 2014. Sutton is going to act like a linch-pin, a more vital cog in this greatly revitalized defense. Ratliff leaves little room for doubt. He is a pro bowl player and, so far, has performed for the Bears as promised. Israel Idonje is a proven performer for us – and, he is a high quality rotational player. Not really a back-up, he is predictably a very good NFL lineman. Don’t really know about Nate Collins, Steven Paea, David Bass, TrevorScott, Austin Lane, et.al.. There is going to be some fierce competition for the 10 roster spots that Phil Emery and Co. have indicated might be allowed to the defensive line. Maybe that number is only 9. There are already 7 locks – Allen, Ratliff, Ferguson, Sutton, Idonje – and, Houston and Young. Let us not forget about Lamarr and Willie. They are both ‘sudden’ players, both playing ‘lights-out’ at times. Hard to recall a 300 lb. player that plays with the quickness of Lamarr Houston. Amazingly agile pass and run defender – expect him to have a break-out season and he has been playing some terrific football already.
Willie Young is a disruptive, explosive player who has great film as an NFL player. This is not a back-up player. The question is, how can the Bears and Mel Tucker best use his ability? What defensive sets can take advantage of one of the better athletes playing defensive end in the NFL? Both players show a lot of flash on the field and both had a ton of QB hurries last year. How many interceptions are caused by the quarterback suddenly getting ‘happy feet?’ The answer – quite a few.
Bad run defense – so last year. They are not going to run on us. Ferguson and Sutton are very strong against the run. It deserves mention that Sutton had 20.5 sacks as a junior – from the defensive tackle position! Will does not have a weight problem -- cased closed. Ego has not shown his full potential – not by a long shot, we hope. But he is strong at the point of attack and should be very effective from the start as a run stuffer. The line has changed dramatically. Jared Allen will be in double digit sacks – again. Sutton will have 5 or more sacks himself – would not be surprised if he posts more than the 8 that Henry Melton had in 2012. The tackle play should be exceptional. Emery and Co. sure turned this whole thing around in just one off season.
Much bigger question for us Bear fans – what kind of linebacker is Shea McClellin? Who is are third linebacker?