Bears

Thayer: Expect McClellin To Play Strong In Debut

Shea McClellin rushes against Adam Grant. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Shea McClellin rushes against Adam Grant. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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(WSCR) Not only will Sunday’s Bears-Colts matchup give fans their first look at the Brandon Marshall-Jay Cutler connection, it will mark rookie defensive end Shea McClellin’s first taste of professional football.

McClellin, who was drafted in the first round by the Bears, struggled in preseason and in training camp, not showing fans much to be excited about.

Bears radio analyst Tom Thayer thinks that once the ball kicks off at Soldier Field, fans will see a new McClellin.

“I think he’s going to be a contributor,” Thayer told The Mully and Hanley Show. “The defensive line is a rotating position now a days. If you have those seven or eight guys who can take all the snaps, then Shea’s going to fit in exactly where they need him. He’s going to be a contributor on pass-rushing. He’s going to be a special teams player. He’s going to allow you to move Julius Peppers and Isreal Idonije around because he’s clever enough to play both sides of the line of scrimmage. I think that you’re going to see more out of Shea when it is real football, rather than just trying to determine what he can do for a team, his strengths and weaknesses, just out of drills.”

LISTEN: Tom Thayer on The Mully and Hanley Show

For the rest of this interview and other 670 The Score interviews click here.

McClellin’s job will be to rough up the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft – Andrew Luck.

To scheme against Luck, Thayer said the Bears need to keep it simple and not try to anticipate his next move.

“The worst think you can do is try to go out there and freelance because you have a rookie quarterback,” Thayer said. “The one thing about a rookie quarterback – he’s going to pay attention to details. He’s not at the level or the stage that he can go out there and do a Peyton Manning freelance. He’s going to have to follow the huddle called and implement it after the ball is snapped.

“You don’t know what to expect because (the Colts) have a new scheme, they have a new defense, they have a new head coach, they have a new general manager. There are so many new things with the Indianapolis Colts. What you need to do is go there and play the huddle called, both on offense and defense. Don’t try to freelance. Don’t try to guess what you think Andrew Luck is going to do. Don’t try to anticipate a position that you’re not 100 percent confident in.”