Bears rookie Shea McClellin sacks Caleb Hanie but struggles vs. run
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org August 9, 2012 11:06PM
Updated: September 11, 2012 1:44PM
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli was paying attention to details Thursday night.
He was focusing on the Bears’ rookie class.
“You want to see guys flash and show they know the defense,’’ Marinelli said. “We want to see guys tackle. It’s all kind of a bone-on-bone session of football.
‘‘You find out conditioning and find out the toughness of the mind in some of these guys. Some of these guys will crack, and some won’t crack. They’ll just keep playing. That could be more important than production. Sometimes you look for that — toughness of mind.’’
The Denver Broncos dominated the lifeless Bears 31-3, but Marinelli at least saw rookie defensive end Shea McClellin take some steps.
The 19th overall pick from Boise State, McClellin entered the game with the second unit near the end of the first quarter and showed some athleticism with a 10-yard sack of a scrambling Caleb Hanie.
When the pocket collapsed, Hanie tried to bounce the play outside. McClellin strung the play out by forcing Hanie toward the sideline, then ran him down, pulling him to the ground to end a drive.
On running plays, life was a bit tougher for McClellin, who got stood up by the second-team linemen, continuing a training-camp trend.
But the Bears can sleep well at night knowing they have a pass-rushing specialist in McClellin who can be brought in for specific packages.
“It’s always good in your first [game] to get a sack to start off your career,’’ coach Lovie Smith said.
As for some of the Bears’ other key rookies:
◆ Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (second round, 50th overall) was the first rookie to work with mostly first-teamers and finally caught a pass with just over two minutes left in the first half. He finished with four receptions for 35 yards.
◆ Safety Brandon Hardin (third, 79th) came in the game midway through the first quarter with the second-team defense and played tentatively. He finished with a tackle.
◆ Tight end Evan Rodriguez (fourth, 111th) worked on the punt-coverage team in the first half and played tight end late in the second quarter.
◆ Cornerback Isaiah Frey (sixth, 184th) entered the game early on in the second quarter for Kelvin Hayden.
Frey missed a few tackles because he was too aggressive but continued to display a physical presence in pressing receivers, as well as a fearlessness that has caught the attention of the coaching staff through the first few weeks of camp.