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Chicago Bears 2018 Position Battles: Starting outside linebacker desperately needed This wasn’t the strongest draft for pass rushing outside linebackers considering where the Chicago Bears were picking. The free agent class wasn’t the best at that position either , so the Bears were forced to shop in the discount bin, so to speak. That’s not to say the guys they picked up can’t be contributors, but in looking at their pick-ups, it’s safe to say they grabbed a couple reclamation projects.But that’s fine. There is some upside in these guys, but the depth at the position could prove to be a problem if at least one of these players can’t come through and become a part of the rotation.Roster LocksLeonard Floyd has been having a nice camp so far, and his first step quickness has proven to be a problem for the Bears’ tackles. Health is the only thing holding him back from a double digit sack season. Rookie Kylie Fitts garnered some positive mention from head coach Matt Nagy earlier this week, but staying healthy was an issue for him during his time at Utah. That’s a big reason he was a day three draft pick. He’s healthy right now, after being banged up in 2016 and 2017, so his athleticism is flashing at camp. Fitts has a high ceiling in my opinion Blue Anthony Miller Jersey , and if he can put it all together I think he’ll eventually be a starter for the Bears. It just may not be this year. Sam Acho was actually second on the Bears last year with 18 quarterback hits. When he took over as a starter half way through the season, I thought he played the best football of his Bears’ career. People forget that Acho had seven sacks as a rookie in 2011 with the Cardinals, and he was solid in 2012 too before tearing up his knee. Acho has made it a point to work on his pass rush repertoire this offseason, so maybe he’s about to have his breakout at 29-years old.A good bet to make itIf Aaron Lynch can get healthy, he’s probably a lock, but he hasn’t been healthy during his short Bears’ career. I liked the signing when the Bears made it because reuniting him with Vic Fangio made perfect sense, but I’m in the ‘I’ll believe it when I see’ mode when it comes to Lynch. On the bubbleIsaiah Irving had a decent preseason last year with the Bears, and he was a late season call up from the practice squad. If the Bears decide to carry five at the position I like his chances, but if they only go four he may end up a practice squad candidate again. The Bears list Jonathan Anderson at outside linebacker this offseason after being listed on the inside previously. At 6’3” Blue Aaron Lynch Jersey , 237 pounds he a little smaller than what they usually have at the position, but he was a 4.54 forty guy at his 2015 TCU pro day. He’s been a good special teamer for the Bears, so maybe he’s trying to prove his versatility to the coaching staff. Veteran Kasim Edebali will also try and stick by virtue of the third phase. He did have five sacks in 2015 with the Saints, so he’ll hope to flash in preseason. Andrew Trumbetti is an undrafted free agent from Notre Dame who is transitioning from defensive end to outside linebacker. If he shows promise at his new position he could land a spot on the practice squad.Elijah Norris is another college defensive end making the switch to OLB. He had six sacks last year as a senior at Shepherd. The Chicago Bears showed they could dominate on defense, even with Khalil Mack out of the lineup.Then again, playing the Jets didn't hurt.The Bears were ready without Mack, shutting down Sam Darnold and New York's struggling offense in a 24-10 victory Sunday they sorely needed."We played together," linebacker Aaron Lynch said. "We played as one, we played aggressive and we had fun doing it. And we attacked the field every time we went out there."There were no eye-popping statistics from any of the Bears' players. Chicago (4-3) had just one sack and no interceptions.But the defense delivered a solid all-around effort , helping the Bears win on a day when Mitchell Trubisky threw for two touchdowns and guard Kyle Long got helped off the field with a right foot injury.The Bears outgained New York 395 yards to 207 and held big advantages in rushing (179-57) and passing (216-15). The Jets didn't even reach 100 yards in total offense until the fourth quarter, and by the time they finally got going, Chicago was putting this one away."I don't want to go back and forth about what any in particular guy does on this defense," defensive end Akiem Hicks said. "I want to talk about our entire defense as a whole, and how dominant we have been and how dominant we will continue to be the rest of the year."Here are some things to know after the Bears bounced back from consecutive losses and handed the Jets their second in a row:SELF-INFLICTEDWhile the Bears' defense did its part, the Jets did plenty to stop themselves.They had false-start penalties on each of their first three drives. They also had one on their first possession of the third quarter, making it tougher to move the ball."We shot ourselves in the foot on that," Jets coach Todd Bowles said. "Especially when the crowd wasn't that loud, those were just concentration things. It was pretty much a different guy each time."RUNNING REVIVALJordan Howard has gone a career-long 10 straight games without a 100-yard rushing effort. But he showed signs of picking it up with 22 carries for 81 yards 鈥?his highest total since he had 82 in the opener against Green Bay.The 22 attempts were the second-most for him this season. And he set up his 2-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter with a 24-yard run Youth Jordan Howard Jersey , his longest of the year.DRIVE EXTENDERMitchell Trubisky's scrambling continues to help keep the Bears moving, even when the passing game has been inconsistent. He ran for four first downs and gained 51 yards on six rushes."We needed to continue to find ways to stay on the field and sometimes it's me pulling the ball down and making the play for the offense," Trubisky said.In the previous game against New England, Trubisky ran for a career-high 81 yards.CATCHING ONJets rookie tight end Christopher Herndon now has touchdown catches in three straight games.He had a 16-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter 鈥?his lone reception. A fourth-round pick from Miami, he has 12 catches for 161 yards.WITHOUT LONGThe Bears have some options if Long is out for a few games or the rest of the season.Veteran Eric Kush could take over for him at right guard, though he has been bothered the past few weeks with a neck injury that kept him out on Sunday. The Bears can also turn to newly acquired Bryan Witzmann, a guard/tackle who signed three weeks ago and has knowledge of the offense because he played in it for the Chiefs under Nagy.
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