Chicago Bears Training Camp Preview: Linebackers

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The middle linebacker spot gets really interesting.  The way I see it, it’s a three horse race for the Mike linebacker.  The “lead dog” for the job, as Marc Trestman called him, is DJ Williams.  The 10-year vet will look to come back from a season-ending injury and reclaim the MLB spot.  Williams’ experience will be a key to hold off the younger and more athletic options.

Dec 1, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end

John Carlson

(89) is tackled by Chicago Bears linebacker Jon Bostic (57) during the fourth quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Bears 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The next up in the race for starting MLB is Jonathan Bostic.  Bostic wowed fans in the preseason last year with some big hits and impact plays, but when Williams went down with injury, he showed he wasn’t ready for prime time.  The coaching staff reviewed the tape and changed his run fits to allow him to keep his shoulders square a little longer to help him play the position a little more naturally.  Phil Emery speculated that Bostic might be better suited to play on the outside and could be Lance Briggs’ successor down the road, but for now, Bostic is in the thick of things for the MLB position.

Another candidate for the starting MLB spot is also the projected starter at strong side linebacker, converted defensive end, previously converted from a collegiate 3-4 outside linebacker, Shea McClellin.  McClellin will be given every opportunity to succeed in his new role at linebacker.

There was a lot of speculation that the Bears might flip from a 4-3 to a 3-4 this offseason, but that’s not happening.  Instead, many believe that Mel Tucker will take a page out of the Seattle Seahawks playbook and use McClellin the way the ‘Hawks use Bruce Irvin.  Let’s hope this story end the same way the Seahawks’ did last season, with a big shiny trophy.