Chicago Bears‘ middle linebacker D.J. Williams suffered a season-ending chest injury in last week’s victory. Rookie linebacker Jonathan Bostic, who impressed in the preseason, will take his place this Sunday at the Washington Redskins. Like it or not, the NFL is a next man up league. Bostic assumed that role in the preseason when Williams was out all four weeks with a strained calf, and had an interception along with a touchdown return in the preseason opener.
Bostic ready for Chicago Bears season debut
Bostic already has a reputation for collecting big hits. We all remember the booming hit in Week 3 of the preseason that the linebacker laid on San Diego Chargers’ wide receiver Mike Willie. The anticipation required to read the play and not miss that opportunity was something you would only see in a veteran, and it even cost him a hefty fine — $21,000, to be exact. Admittedly, he was trying to make the big play which is something he, as a rookie, should not be doing. He has said he will reel it back and let the big plays come to him, which is admirable in a rookie. The humility he has shown is something not seen in most rookies, and it is easy to say he will fill in just fine because of both his humility and his ability to make a play when necessary.
While the Bears are disappointed to see Williams and his experience out for the year, they will move on and will have to adjust to a new man in the middle. Linebacker Lance Briggs, who as a rookie played next to retired Bear Brian Urlacher, and he knows Bostic will be OK. Briggs said Bostic is further along than when number 55 was a rookie, and will help Bostic along in every way. It is very cool to see Briggs take Bostic under his wing like that and make sure he knows where to line up in certain situations,or what he needs to do if there are adjustments to be made. It shows leadership on the grandest scale, and Bears fans should not worry about Sunday’s game.
There are those who have said Bostic is not ready. Well, he gets his first shot Sunday so the detractors better get used to it. He has been on the special teams squad the majority of the season, so people also say he does not have the experience Williams does. Bostic is a rookie, so of course he does not have the experience. That will come. He has been taking notes and learning, preparing for a moment like this. Briggs will be there, as well, so he will pick up any slack and act as Bostic’s janitor, cleaning up any messes he makes. Not to say Briggs will assume that role the whole game, but he will definitely play an important role in that aspect.
This whole season and new offensive system was predicated on two words- buy-in. For this team to succeed like this team should, every single player needed to buy in. Sunday, the Bears will need to buy in to Bostic.