The Bears have lost their starting middle linebacker for the rest of the year, along with their top two defensive tackles already on injured reserve. This is why why it’s even more urgent that this offense does what they’ve been counted on all year to do, develop and improve.
With news of D.J. Williams’ having an season-ending pectoral injury, it means that the Bear’s middle linebacker, and one of the better pass-coverage linebackers on the team, is going to be gone for the year, with a rookie stepping into his place.With a defense getting no push up the middle, with piled-on injuries to defensive tackles, having the entire middle of the defense gutted doesn’t sound like a fun proposition. It sounds intimidating. For this Bears team, it shouldn’t mean to much.
Chicago has recorded four victories this season, with Williams making a grand total of 19 tackles, one forced fumble and two sacks. If those numbers don’t sound like much, that’s because they aren’t. Williams’ will be replaced by rookie Jon Bostic, who saw the field on Thursday for the first time. In all likelihood, he’ll be pulled off the field in key nickel situations, and when he is on the field, he’ll still have that defensive line in front of him.
Bostic might not play the pass as well as Williams does (he’ll need time to read and react to NFL passing schemes), but he’ll get that experience first hand, with a couple long weeks to learn between games, with five days before facing the Washington Redskins and another twenty-three before heading off to face the Packers.
I’m sure that you’ll recall the last time a Bears team lost its middle linebacker for a long duration, as then star Linebacker Brian Urlacher nearly missed all of the 2009 season. With that in hand, the defense fell to the bottom third of the league in points, and, mixed with an offense that was ranked 19th in points and 23rd in total yards, the team just couldn’t break through the .500 mark that year.
As of now, the Bears have the fifth ranked scoring offense and eleventh ranked offense in yardage offense to couple with a defense already ranking in at 22nd in points and 19th in yards. Defensive play has been more or less bad overall with the front four, leading to some shaky plays at times. This time around, it isn’t a shut down defense the Bears ‘ staff will lean on and hang their hats on this season. That’s offense. Which unlike 2009, the Bears have in spades by comparison.
We’ve known for the most part that coming into the season the defense wouldn’t be able to hold on to its perennial top-5 status, mainly due to key personnel and coaching changes. We didn’t think the defensive line would fall into turmoil and become a complete liability, much like the offensive line was at times that past couple years. We expected the offense to rise up and compensate for the shortfall in defense if the Bears planned on making a playoff push. To this point in the year, four wins to two losses would say the offense has done just enough to keep that plan in motion.
Now, after this 4-2 start, the offense needs to continue producing, and do it just a little bit better. We all figured the Bears offense wouldn’t be lights out right out of the gate, but that they’d slowly put it together, bit by bit as the season gradually progressed. For the Bears to continue winning as the schedule gets tougher, the offense will need to continually develop as they’ve had to, and continue through out the year.
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