Originally written on Midway Illustrated  |  Last updated 11/15/14

Perhaps no player is better prepared to deal with the thought of losing his job than Bears defensive end Israel Idonije.  No player better exemplifies the cliche of lunch pail player than this Bears player.

Idonije has been nothing short of a strong stable reliable player his entire career in Chicago.  He plays well and gets the most out of his ability.  He's not special by any means but you can count on him to play hard every single down.

Football Outsiders called Idonije "outlandishly under appreciated" and using their stat metrics it's easy to see why.  Idonije made more total plays on the season than Peppers, and more defensive stops than Peppers.  In the pass rush game according to FOA Idonije had more combined sacks and hits on the QB than Peppers did.  In run defense Idonije made more plays 40 to 22 over Peppers.

What does this all mean?  It means Idonije needs to do a better job at making the most of his opportunities.  He had more hits than Peppers, but Peppers had more sacks meaning Peppers got home more often.  Still the overall production and pressure from the side opposite Peppers is there and it makes it even more obvious that Shea McClellin is going to have to come in and have a huge impact to knock off Idonije as the starter.

McClellin's the future starter due to Idonije's age and  probably won't show up to make an immediate impact as a starter his rookie year.  Basically look for McClellin to hammer down the third defensive end role, which has been extremely key for the Bears in the past.

If McClellin is unable to supplant Idonije from the starting DE spot it shouldn't be of any major concern.  The Bears need a key contributor as a third defensive end.  Last year the Bears had to try and create a third DE from UDFAs Nick Reed and Mario Addison, both turned out to be deplorable.

Idonije will still have a key role on the team and his overall veteran experience likely keeps him in the starting role.

One thing is certain, Idonije will not be easy to beat out for his starting spot and will do everything possible to make it hard on McClellin to take his job.

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