Midseason Review: Chicago Bears defensive end Jonathan Bullard

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Roy Robertson-Harris
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Roy Robertson-Harris /

Has Chicago Bears defensive end Jonathan Bullard met  preseason expectations through eight weeks?

With the Bears at a bye halfway through their schedule, it is a great time to reflect on the first half of the season. We will go through a list of players on the roster and see whether or not they have met preseason expectations to date, and whether or not they can hit those expectations in the second half of the year. Today, we look at Jonathan Bullard.

Preseason Expectations

Before the season, the hope was that he could eventually unseat Mitch Unrein. Bullard is in year two of his rookie scale deal and has a lot more upside than Unrein. Sliding in the fast and powerful Bullard to the Bears front could really turn them into something.

Through Eight Weeks

He has not met his expectations. Bullard is struggling the same areas this season as last season. Mental acumen. Bullard explodes off of the ball. However, he is prone to falling hard for play action, draws, or any sort of misdirection. He finds himself out of the play as quickly as he gets off of the ball. Bullard has played 35% of the team’s snaps this season, less than Marcus Cooper and Sam Acho and has yet to record a sack.

Next: Midseason awards

Second half outlook

However, Bullard did play in a career-high 39 snaps in week seven against the Panthers. He manhandled Matt Kalil for most of the game and wound up playing over half of the team’s snaps. He had two tackles that game and tied a season high in tackles with three the following week against the New Orleans Saints. The arrow is slowly but surely pointing up, and with a mental week that should be much needed for him, there is a chance that the team integrates him into the lineup soon.