Keep an eye on Stephen Paea

Training camp is the time when players win their jobs. Those who perform get the reps with the first team, while others work with the 2nd and 3rd string. One player who looks like he will make a impact in his second year with the Bears is defensive tackle Stephen Paea. Paea was a 2nd round pick, 53rd overall, in the 2011 NFL Draft. The Bears traded up at the time to select Paea who played for Oregon State.  The 6'1" 300lbs defensive linemen is looking to grab the starting nose tackle job.

Paea has come into camp this year stronger and quicker than last. Last season, Paea started most Sunday's on the inactive list. Slow progress in practice left him watching from the sidelines the first half of the season. Paea did final make it on the field in 2011 playing in 7 games. He had 14 tackles  and 2 sacks in his limited playing time. Paea did show flashes though of the talent he possessed.

In his second season, Paea could be a player who has a tremendous impact on the season. The defense the Bears play requires the defensive line to put pressure on the quarterback. In training camp he has looked good enough to take over the starting nose tackle roll. The Bears as a organization also need him to step up. Paea is a second round pick that they traded up for. He needs to be a impact player on the line. Paea alongside of Henry Melton should give the Bears the necessary interior pass rush that they require. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli wants to see his line continually attack the opponents quarterback.  Marinelli explained what he is looking for in his pass rushers.

"I'm really looking for initial quickness and that's instinct and awareness to get off on whatever move. Then I look for change of direction, short-area quickness. I probably favor quickness over speed. From there, it's power and quickness of feet. When your feet are quick, you have power. When you're slow, you have no power. And then I want to see a relentless guy and a guy with toughness of mind.''

Paea hopefully will show Marinelli that quickness and power during camp and in the preseason games. If Paea remains healthy and seizes the starting job, I expect him to have big impact on the field this season. The Bears as a team ranked 29th last season in sacks per pass play. That is one stat the Coach Smith and Marinelli would like to see improved. The time is here for Paea to help create a devastating interior pass rush for the Chicago Bears.  Will he take advantage of it?

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