Hoge’s Tweetbag: When Will Bostic See The Field On Defense?
By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time to look into the Tweetbag and answer some of your Bears questions.
This week’s questions were especially good, so let’s get right to them:
Boomski Bump (@mikebearup17) September 17, 2013
Unless one of the linebackers gets hurt or really starts to play poorly, then Jon Bostic is going to remain a special teamer. But let’s remember that this is football and at some point D.J. Williams, Lance Briggs or James Anderson is probably going to get a little banged up. For that reason, Bostic has been getting work at all three linebacker spots. He is not just Williams’ backup in the middle, although I do think that’s where the Bears feel most comfortable playing him. If Anderson were to go down on the strong side, I could see Bostic playing there, but if Briggs were to miss time, I tend to think Williams would slide over to the weak side with Bostic taking over and make the calls.
Be patient with Bostic. He has a lot of potential and the Bears like him, but they also know that you need depth to win championships, so there’s nothing wrong with rookie being used as the fourth linebacker right now.
@AdamHoge Any more info on David Bass? Quiet pickup for Bears, but Raiders fans seemed bummed to lose him.—
Chris von Ende (@cve77) September 17, 2013
Bass definitely showed some potential in the preseason with the Raiders and Phil Emery obviously liked what he saw when the Bears were in Oakland last month. I’d say right now Bass is a developmental project who provides some depth. He’s been inactive the first two games and will probably continue to be inactive unless someone goes down. Until we see him on the field, there’s really no way to evaluate him. Remember, the team portions of practices are not open to the media during the season.
@AdamHoge why do the Bears insist on playing McClellin anytime outside of obvious pass situations? He kills the Bears when teams run at him.—
Josh Turner (@1901Madison) September 17, 2013
Well the biggest reason is that Julius Peppers hasn’t been healthy. That said, there have been times where McClellin has been out there with Peppers in the base defense with Wootton on the bench. That’s actually how the Bears started Sunday’s game against the Vikings. And to be honest, that surprises me. McClellin is still struggling to get off run blocks and he hasn’t made enough impact plays in the pass rush, despite getting a sack in Week 1. Peppers cleared out a free lane for him Sunday and McClellin missed the sack on Christian Ponder.
I still think the Bears are going to be patient with the former first-round pick, but I have to say, the anticipated jump from Year 1 to Year 2 hasn’t been evident in the first two weeks of the regular season.
@AdamHoge will Julius Peppers return to form this year, or is this what we should expect the rest of the year.—
Matt Ryan (@Matt_Ryan_57) September 17, 2013
Julius Peppers is the face of the defensive line, so he’s going to take the brunt of the criticism when the line struggles. That said, I believe he’s had legitimate excuses for quiet games the first two weeks, especially this past Sunday when he was sick.
There is reason for optimism. For one, I thought he played better Sunday despite being sick. If they can get him back out on the practice field on a regular basis and get him healthy, the Bears defensive line should improve dramatically. I wouldn’t say that’s a guarantee though, so it’s something to watch closely in the coming weeks.
@AdamHoge how does the change from 4-3 defenses to a 3-4 pit team affect the young right side of the line / overall protection of J—
travis wills (@WillsTravis) September 17, 2013
Great question. It’s definitely a change that the rookies are going to have to adapt to this week against the Steelers. The most important key is communication and knowing your assignments. The advantage of the 3-4 is that it can create confusion by keeping the offense guessing on where the pressure is coming from. That means Jay Cutler and center Roberto Garza are going to have be very diligent on what they are seeing at the line of scrimmage and communicate clearly with the entire offensive line, not just the rookies on the right side.
I’m not entirely sure what fronts Jordan Mills saw in college at Louisiana Tech, but Kyle Long definitely has experience against the 3-4. Even though his college playing time was limited, Oregon runs a 3-4 (and a complicated hybrid version, at that), so he has practiced against it a lot. Keep in mind both of them also saw a 3-4 in the preseason when they played the Chargers.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.