Chicago Bears defensive end Jonathan Bullard is showing progress

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

Jonathan Bullard will be getting more playing time down the last stretch. It looks as though he is making progress

Even though Jonathan Bullard was a third round pick, his athleticism, combined with coming from an SEC school had a lot of people thinking he had starter potential. However, his first season got off to a rocky start. There has always been one issue with Bullard and it has plagued him two years running. It is his play recognition, and gap discipline.

He has extraordinary burst off of the line. However, when he is going the wrong way, and falling for play action, he takes himself out of plays. It has led to Mitch Unrein, a less talented, but more disciplined player earning more playing time than him.

It may have had to do with a lingering injury to Unrein that eventually shut him down, it may have had to do with the Bears record, and wanting experience for their second-year draft pick. Either way of the past two weeks Bullard has played 47 snaps and 42 respectively. Both represent the two highest snap counts and percentages of his career. His play last week showed promise as far as that elite athleticism and burst to make plays.

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On Sunday, he started to show understanding and discipline as well. Below you can see a play go away from him. Usually, Bullard will be in bull dog Bullard-mode and will be chasing the ball down. However, he shows his restraint, protects the back side, and when Carlos Hyde does cut back, voila, Bullard is there.

You can see a part of him wanted to keep chasing down the ball, and he even might have thought about pulling up on the play. However, he did not and he was rewarded. This should be a teachable moment for Bullard, and one that we can look to optimistically moving forward.