2016 will be a make or break year for two Chicago Bears defensive linemen.
Think back Bears fans, to the days leading up to the 2014 NFL draft. It was a beautiful time really. The Bears had gone 8-8 in Marc Trestman’s first season as head coach and the offense looked like it had potential. Sure Jay Cutler missed a bunch of games due to injury but in his absence one of the McCown brothers (it doesn’t actually matter which one because they are both pretty much the same) had managed to win games.
The offense was overflowing with talent in the form of Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey, Martellus Bennett, and Matt Forte. We had hope that the Bears would only get better in their second year with Trestman, as long as the defense could add some talent and improve just a little. Or at least that’s what we talked ourselves into believing.
The Bears front office emphasized defense in the 2014 draft grabbing four defensive players with the first five picks. The second and third picks in this draft were defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton.
These two tackles, like many early round picks, were expected to make an immediate impact in a much improved Mel Tucker 4-3 defense. Unfortunately for all of us it didn’t quite work out that way. The Bears were terrible on both sides of the ball in 2014 and the head coach, defensive coordinator, and general manager were asked to leave the premises without allowing the door to make contact with their collective posterior aspects.
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Enter new head coach John Fox, new GM Ryan Pace, new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, and the 3-4 defensive scheme. In the second year of their professional football careers both Ferguson and Sutton were asked to change positions to accommodate the scheme switch.
The second year of a football player’s career is supposed to be when they settle in to the pro game and scheme. They have a year under their belt of the new system and the mental side of the game comes a little easier for them, but not for these two guys. Instead both Ferguson and Sutton had to change everything to go into what amounts to a second rookie season. Rookie season number two, the rookie re-boot, didn’t go well for either Ferguson or Sutton, much the way the spider-man reboot didn’t go well for Emma Stone’s career either.
Next: Ego Ferguson