Shea McClellin Days Until Chicago Bears Season Opener


We’ve reached the half-century mark in the Bear Goggles On Countdown to Kickoff series which means we’re only 50 days away from the Chicago Bears’ first regular season game of 2015.  The minutes/hours/days keep ticking away and we’ll be there before you know it.  Training camp opens on Wednesday and the first preseason game is less than three weeks from now, giving ample reason for excitement.  Today we look at the man who currently wears #50 for the Bears, Shea McClellin.

Now that Chris Conte is out of town, there may not be a more maligned player on the roster than Shea McClellin. There’s Jay Cutler, sure, so lets call Shea 1-B to Cutty’s 1-A when it comes to the scrutiny he has received and will receive in 2015 if he doesn’t perform at the level expected of a former first-round draft pick.

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Whose idea was it, by the way, to have McClellin wear the numbers of two legendary former Bears players who were members of the 1985 Super Bowl team and are enshrined in the Hall of Fame?  The pressure is already significant enough for a highly drafted player coming to one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, but let’s go ahead and throw Dan Hampton‘s #99 on him as a rookie.

Can’t quite live up to the standards of the Danimal while playing DE in your first two years?  Okay, no problem.  Since you’re moving to linebacker we have this #50 jersey that appears to be your size, hasn’t been worn much since a guy named Mike Singletary sported it.  Give that a shot!

Nov 27, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears outside linebacker Shea McClellin (50) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Ugh.  Don’t get me wrong — his career arc is in his own hands and the number on his jersey only serves as an element of identification, it’s up to him to create a positive lasting impression.  It just seems like a bit of cruel irony that he struggles in front of Chicago Bear nation while wearing the numbers of past heroes.

The Bears have retired so many numbers that it’s nearly impossible to hide from the shadow of greats who came before whose numbers haven’t been put away for good.  Fair or not, we remember the best to wear the numbers and measure the current players against them.

We’re veering too close to numerology here, so lets bring it back to Shea’s performance on the field.  In 40 games played during his three years with the team since being drafted 19th overall out of Boise State, McClellin has put up the following numbers: 7.5 sacks, one pass defended, one fumble recovery and 80 tackles (45 solo).

Not the kind of production that suggests he’ll be around for much longer.

What to Expect From Shea McClellin in 2015:

Nov 27, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears outside linebacker Shea McClellin (50) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Training Camp 2015 for the Chicago Bears is set to be one of the more intriguing in recent memory and for the linebackers, one of the most competitive.  McClellin has his work cut out for him if he expects to have a prominent role at inside linebacker, where he’s expected to be given a shot first, or plan B at outside linebacker.

We all know that Vic Fangio replaced Mel Tucker as the Bears defensive coordinator and with him comes the 3-4 alignment, something we haven’t seen here in Chicago.

Also, coming to the Windy City in the form of additional competition for starting duty at linebacker were Pernell McPhee, Mason Foster and Sam Acho.  McPhee and Acho are OLBs but Foster provides an immediate challenge to McClellin for playing time at ILB, and my guess is that Foster wins one of the starting gigs.

When it comes to McClellin I feel the urge to resist piling on, but my honest take is that I don’t see it happening for him.  No amount of Fangio’s influence, or theories of fresh starts and best-fit schemes, or lip service from Fox and Fangio about how his talent and athleticism will convince me otherwise.

I’m tempted to say he could be a surprise cut before the season starts, but I suppose it’s likely he remains on the roster at least for depth.  I can’t see any more than that for McClellin.

Prove me wrong, Shea.  Make Samurai Mike proud.

Next: Who Will the 2015 Defensive Starters Be For the Bears?

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