Lions vs Bears: Rookies Who Will Have Big Impact in NFC North Matchup
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Jonte Green, CB, Detroit Lions
After an untimely injury forced Bill Bentley to leave last week's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, fellow rookie corner Jonte Green stepped up and looked solid. Even Lions head coach Jim Schwartz praised his contributions (via mlive.com).
Going back to rookie mini-camp, Jonte's been on a steady improvement. He improved in OTAs. He improved in training camp. He's improved in preseason and as the seasons going on. He's got very good size. He's got very good speed. He's stepped up all along the way.
Despite his lack of overall experience, Green played good snaps when he was called upon. Considering Bill Bentley is doubtful for tonight's game, there is a good chance Green could yet again have his number called.
Shea McClellin, DE, Chicago Bears
The first round pick out of Boise State has had good snaps. With two sacks and five tackles so far in his rookie campaign, McClellin has proven he can be relied upon to pressure the quarterback and be a presence on the edge.
Which rookie will play the biggest role in tonight's matchup?
McClellin is not an every down rusher, but when he's called upon, he will look to bolster a Bears defensive line that is currently the eighth ranked defensive front as far as sacks and rushing yards allowed are concerned.
Riley Reiff, OT, Detroit Lions
The young tackle out of Iowa has shown tremendous promise in his first season. Often used in run-blocking formations, Reiff had a career-high 22 snaps in last week's game against Philadelphia, and all signs point toward Reiff getting a starting job (via freep.com) one of these days. Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said of Reiff,
Riley's day's coming, there's no question. What we see in his production when he's playing now, we know that day's coming. But right now we're just going game by game, day by day and involving him more in our offense.
Reiff will certainly be relied upon to give the Lions some added protection on their line as they face a brutally aggressive Bears defensive front.
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