Found August 02, 2012 on Midway Illustrated:

Chicago Bears DL

Perhaps no player has been more maligned than rookie defensive end Shea McClellin.  After all when you're the first draft pick of draft guru and newly minted GM Phil Emery, and you're lining up on the other side of Julius Peppers big things are expected.

McClellin has struggled but experience a bounce back day today notching numerous pressures, two tackles for a loss and a sack during the full 11-on-11 session.

Rod Marinelli spoke highly of McClellin and made it known what exactly the rookie needs to focus on to improve.  Instead of thinking so much about what's coming, he just needs to go.

He did that today and finally broke through on what has been a very rough first few days.  McClellin showed off the reasons why he could potentially make an impact.

Elsewhere on defense with Brian Urlacher out Nick Roach has taken over at the starting MIKE spot.  Roach played that spot in 2009 when Urlacher was out with his wrist injury.

Second year linebacker Dom DeCicco is running second team and has showed some flashes that put him squarely in the race to maintain his roster spot.  If DeCicco plays like he practices a week from now his impact should be enough to generate the buzz.

He's improved dramatically from year one to year two and now puts himself squarely in the conversation about eventually becoming a starter.

Will he be Brian Urlacher's eventual successor?  That's the question DeCicco is trying to answer, at thus far in camp the answer is yes he deserves serious consideration.

Elsewhere DT Nate Collins continues to push for that fourth spot in the rotation along the interior.  Collins has stood  out through each and every practice putting himself ahead of veterans and the rookie Ronnie Cameron.

Collins earned a qualifying offer from the Jacksonville Jaguars before being arrested for marijuana possession.  He'll miss the season opener but will be a vital part of the depth at defensive tackle moving forward.

I wrote about Collins in the lead up to the draft because you could see the raw talent he possesses that makes him an ideal fit for the Bears' defense.  He's shown that throughout camp and now moves into the conversation of what DTs will be a part of the Bears future.

Rookie Brandon Hardin took some reps with the starters at free safety.  Hardin is coming along slowly learning as he goes but the natural football instincts and the footwork are there.

On offense Devin Hester was out of practice for personal reasons.  Taking Hester's spot was rookie Alshon Jeffery, who was a bit inconsistent today with his play.  Jeffery would make one big play and then drop a pass on the ensuing possession.

Rookie offensive tackle James Brown was one of the most sought after UDFAs coming out of  Troy.  A lot of draftniks had him pegged as high as a third round pick, fourth round at the worst. Brown went undrafted and is now showing why he was regarded so highly.

Since his arrival he has swapped from guard to RT and now to LT.  With each progressive move up the depth chart he's only gotten better.   Brown is now entrenched at the second string LT spot and looks good there.  You can see his natural feet, his athleticism and ability to kick slide to take on speed rushers.

Brown did get worked over once on a bull rush by Shea McClellin today, but other than that has looked pretty solid overall.  One might argue he's been the best OT out there to this point.

Second year RB Armando continues to impress.  He hauled in a deep wheel route pass today and took it in for a touchdown.   He'll be one to watch a week from today against the Broncos.


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