On the list of qualities that Marc Trestman and Phil Emery look for in players on the Chicago Bears’ roster, versatility is near the top, and Jon Bostic is making every effort during training camp in Bourbonnais to have that adjective applied to his name.
“I’ve mainly been playing Mike (middle linebacker) and Will (weak side linebacker), and they’ve given me a couple of snaps at strong side too,” Bostic said of his constant shifting around the field. “Regardless of where they’re asking me to play, I feel like I can fit in there.”
Bostic is viewed by some observers as a potential successor to Lance Briggs at the weak side position, but he also is in competition with DJ Williams for playing time in the middle. He could also conceivably be in the mix at strong side too, with Shea McCellin also battling for a starting role.
While working at those positions on the practice field is crucial, Bostic makes sure that he puts in work off the field as well.
“I’m working on my whole game and making sure there’s no weaknesses,” he said. “It starts in the meeting room and making sure that what we talk about in there carries over to the practice field.”
After two days of practicing without pads to ease into camp, the Bears finally put on shoulder pads and pants for their first padded practice of the preseason on Sunday, and Bostic views that step in the progress toward the regular season as a crucial one for a team looking to bounce back from a subpar year.
“It feels good. Obviously it’s just the start for us,” he said. “We want to get better up front, and we know we need to stop the run better than we did last year. The stuff we put on film last year wasn’t us, and we want to get back to playing Chicago Bear defense.”
The definition of “Chicago Bear defense” may vary from player to player, but in the case of a guy like Bostic, it means getting pressure on the quarterback with the front seven, as well as being able to help out in coverage on passing plays like his predecessors at the linebacker position did. With that in mind, Bostic is not only paying attention to what he’s doing on the field, but also what the position coaches are telling other players during practice as well.
“It’s just a matter of continuing to learn the defense and keep getting more comfortable doing everything,” he said. “Even when someone else is getting corrected at a position, I’m paying attention to that too so I don’t make the same mistake.”