After the Chicago Bears re-signed veteran linebacker D.J. Williams to a one-year deal last week, thoughts began to swirl about where Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene would fit into the defensive scheme this season. Assuming Lance Briggs starts at weak side linebacker and Williams resumes his role at middle linebacker, the strong side backer is all that remains. With James Anderson on the free agent market, it appears Bostic will get a chance in his second season behind a re-worked defensive line.
The Bears definitely need to get younger on defense, though that usually comes with the caveat that those younger players need to be ready for the NFL. After injuries to Briggs and Williams last season, Greene and Bostic were thrust into starting roles behind an injury-plagued defensive line that had more holes than a bad movie plot. Though they each showed glimpses of promise, the results were far from satisfying. Now with a full season under their belts and under the tutelage of Briggs and Williams, they both need to step their game up to the next level in order for the defense to succeed. Any other additions to the position could help ease that pressure from their shoulders.
At the start of the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, Phil Emery and Marc Trestman announced that former first-round pick, defensive end Shea McClellin would be moving to linebacker next season, though neither of them would give a specific answer when asked about what kind of playing time McClellin would receive. Given his inexperience it makes sense that McClellin will be used more so in blitz packages where he can get a free rush toward the quarterback without having to fend off offensive tackles every play.
It has been reported that Emery and company are still looking to add at least one more starter on defense via free agency, and there are still plenty of mediocre linebackers available. However, with barely any young talent available at the position it seems more likely that the team would add more backers through the draft in May.
Mike Cuddy is a Chicago Bears writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeCuddy, “Like” him/her on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.