Chicago Bears Training Camp: Five Players To Watch

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Lamarr Houston, LB

August 2, 2015: Lamarr Houston (#99) runs thru a linebacker drill during day four of Chicago Bears Training Camp in Bourbonnais, IL.

One of the more physically impressive players to view in-person during my time in Bourbonnais was Lamarr Houston. Debuting in 2014 with the Bears, Houston’s impact was minimal on a bad Mel Tucker-led defense. For that reason it was easy to forget that he was a highly sought-after free agent that the Bears targeted and moved quickly to acquire just hours into the NFL free agency period last spring.

And it’s easy to remember him by the only thing that stands out from last year — that sack celebration-turned-blown-out-knee.

With the Oakland Raiders Houston was a player on the rise, starting all but three games from 2011 thru 2013 and increasing his sack and tackle totals every year. There was question as to whether or not Houston would give the Bears the type of pass-rush threat that they were after (he had six in 2013), but he was a solid defensive lineman coming into the prime of his career.

Sep 7, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end Lamarr Houston (99) during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Of course with best laid plans the outcome often isn’t what we expect it to be, and that has been the case so far with Houston. For me, emphasis needs to be placed on the “so far” part of the previous sentence and I’m wiping the slate clean for Houston heading into 2015.

I’m even willing to take some of the blame for that sack dance gone awry, on account of bad karma I possibly brought on the Bears. When Detroit Lions Linebacker Stephen Tulloch tore his ACL in week three performing an eerily similar celebration, I goofed on my Lions-fan acquaintances. Only a Lion could do something that knuckle-headed, I said. Five weeks later Houston one-ups Tulloch, much to my chagrin.

It’s my fault, Bears fans! I’m sorry!

In all seriousness I believe Houston will bounce back, possibly in a major way. In training camp he has looked every bit the big and fast defensive force the Bears thought they were getting as a free agent last year. I’m putting my faith in Vic Fangio to help Houston resume his upward career trajectory.

Next: How Much Is Left In the Tank?