The Bears introduced free agent acquisition Pernell McPhee at a press conference on Wednesday.
General manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox fielded a variety of questions about not only their new outside linebacker, but the frenzy of the first day of free agency, the makeup of the roster and compatibility of current players in the new schemes, and also the status of quarterback Jay Cutler.
Pace and Fox love McPhee’s versatility, his ability to line up in different positions on the field which will be required as the Bears work to acquire the right talent to fit defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s new defense.
“He does have length,” Fox said. “He’s able to use his hands very well. He does play with body lean. He collapses the pocket. He’s not what I would define as a speed rusher, but an outstanding rusher.”
It’s also worth noting that when a player leaves a particular defense that he thrived in, many people wonder whether that player benefitted from playing with great teammates and in a good system. McPhee was mainly a backup, situational rusher who played with Pro Bowlers like Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil for a great defense in Baltimore. Does that mean he won’t transition well as a full-time player on a different team?
Not according to Pace, who said that when he watched film of McPhee, he saw the linebacker winning a lot of one-on-one matchups against players of all different positions.
That’s really good to know because the Bears don’t want to become one of the many teams who have offered starter’s money to a player who couldn’t handle the role at the NFL level.
“He’s disruptive,” Pace noted. “He hits the quarterback a ton. I think he’s an ascending player. I like the violence that he plays with. He’s got length, gets off blocks, I think he’s a well-rounded player, too. I think he’s a productive pass-rusher, but also a steady, consistent run defender. Those are some of the things that jump out.”