As the 2014 campaign continues to unfold, some new facts are becoming clear about the Chicago Bears. What are a few of interest?
Alshon Jeffery is not a one-year wonder
One of the unspoken fears among fans heading into this season is whether or not wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is the real deal. His 2013 campaign was brilliant, pockmarked by spectacular catches and dominant performances that culminated in a Pro Bowl nod. Now some wonder if it will prove a fluke. Based on recent camp reports, those worries are unjustified. Jeffery has looked better than ever, still making his trademark highlight reel grabs and in the most recent practice burning the defense for two 50-yard touchdowns.
Lamarr Houston and Jared Allen are bringing an edge to the defense
Giving up 160 yards rushing for the season was not just because the Chicago Bears defense got decimated by injuries last year. That sort of number is indicative of a unit that got pushed around, that too many times saw opponents impose their will on them. Apparently it’s something that won’t happen again in 2014. No two players have made clearer than defensive ends Lamarr Houston and Jared Allen. Where Allen has brought an energy to the defense with his high motor and enthusiasm, Houston has provided an attitude. That is clear by the fact he’s already been in two scuffles with right tackle Jordan Mills before pads are even on. No one can say for sure how the defense will play this season, but Houston and Allen seem intent on ensuring it won’t be due to lack of toughness.
Reggie Herring is having an impact
One of the under-the-radar hires made by the Bears during the off-season was linebackers coach Reggie Herring. The team felt it needed somebody with more experienced and teaching finesse than they had in 2013. Herring qualified given his extensive stops in both college and the pros. Already his presence is being felt on the field, and not just because of his loud voice. Young linebackers have been making plays in camp. Jon Bostic and Shea McClellin each showed progress in coverage by batting down passes and second-year man Khaseem Greene one-upped them by intercepting another and returning it for a touchdown. There is still lots of work to do, but Herring clearly has them on the right track.