BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Shea McClellin re-affirmed on Friday his conviction that linebacker is “where he belongs” on defense, but added that he remains in the process of refining certain skills necessary to successfully make the transition from defensive end.
Specifically, McClellin is trying to train his eyes to see the field from a wider and broader sense at linebacker, as opposed to lining up at defensive end where a player’s field of vision is narrower.
“That’s one thing I need to work on is getting my eyes right,” McClellin said. “That’s something I need to work on over the next two or three weeks. Especially at middle linebacker, you have to see the whole field and know what’s going on with the entire defense.
"The more reps I get the more comfortable I feel. I said back in the spring this is where I belong."
Pushing McClellin back to a two-point stance is expected to have its advantages. While McClellin failed to generate enough sacks as a defensive lineman, there is no denying his pure speed and athleticism. McClellin should greatly benefit from having more open field to work with at linebacker, especially when he is asked to blitz.
“It helps out because you are out there in space and the guy isn’t on you,” McClellin said.
Because of McClellin’s high-profile as a former first-round draft pick, the transition to linebacker will be heavily scrutinized over the summer. But the coaching staff appears to remain squarely in McClellin’s corner, including new linebackers coach Reggie Herring.
Herring, a 33-year coaching veteran, was hired in January to replace Tim Tibesar, who the Bears fired after just one season coaching linebackers.
“I think Shea has been encouraged by Reggie,” Bears head coach Marc Trestman said. “I think Reggie has a lot of confidence in him and his ability. I think he’s feeling that encouragement, not only by Reggie, but by Mel [Tucker] and by all of us. We’re excited to see where this can go with Shea. It’s the first day, and we’ll continue to watch him progress as we go through camp.”