After coming to minicamp as a workout invitee, Brian Iwuh apparently did enough to impress the coaching staff because Monday the Bears signed the fifth-year linebacker to a contract.
Originally an undrafted free agent out of Colorado, Iwuh played in 58 games for Jacksonville over the course of four seasons and recorded 83 tackles and one forced fumble. But the 6-0, 235-pounder is most likely being brought to the Windy City because of his ability on special teams, as the 61 special-teams tackles he racked up currently rank third in Jaguars franchise history. Although he does have three starts in his career, expect him to spend more time with special teams coordinator Dave Toub than linebackers coach Bob Babich.
For an insider's perspective on Iwuh and what he might bring to the Midway Monsters on defense and special teams, BearReport.com consulted with Charlie Bernstein, the publisher of JagNation.com:
Strengths: In the various preseasons, Iwuh showed an ability to make big plays, but those plays came against backups and lesser competition. Iwuh should be a very good special-teams contributor, and he's a guy who works hard and can fill in behind Brian Urlacher if necessary.
Weaknesses: As a linebacker, Iwuh isn't particularly good in coverage, as he goes forward much better than he does backward. He only has limited experience at inside linebacker, playing in spot duty and blowout situations.
Bernstein Says: Iwuh didn't really get a legitimate chance to earn a starting gig in Jacksonville, due to Daryl Smith being a very solid middle linebacker. It's highly unlikely he'll unseat a potential Hall of Famer like Urlacher, but Iwuh could be a difference maker on special teams.
JC's Take: While Iwuh got the majority of his reps at inside linebacker with the Jaguars, that won't be the case in the Windy City with Urlacher atop the depth chart and veteran Hunter Hillenmeyer entrenched as the backup.
But this transaction has less to do with defense and more to do with special teams, As Iwuh could end up being a replacement for departed special-teams stalwart Jamar Williams, who was dealt to Carolina last month in exchange for Chris Harris. Because the Bears didn't need Williams, as they are very deep at linebacker, then there is little reason to believe they're in desperate need to keep Iwuh around. However, since special teams are his, well, specialty and Chicago already hit a home run last year signing ex-Jaguar Tim Shaw, that means Iwuh will get a chance to impress Toub and perhaps earn a roster spot.
Toub felt the need to re-acquire special teams-only linebacker Darrell McClover after injuries started to pile up last season, so having Iwuh around might make a move like that unnecessary.
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Scout's Analysis: LB Brian Iwuh
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