Player D-coordinator: If not Nick Roach, then...?
December 6, 2012, 3:53 pm
During the preseason, the Bears experimented with Blake Costanzo at middle linebacker with Brian Urlacher out while his injured knee healed. If they need to fill for Nick Roach on Sunday, Costanzo is the likely replacement with Dom DeCicco the latest roster addition.
But there are some other options, even if those “options” don’t particularly like them.
One is to move Lance Briggs from his weak-side spot into the middle. He’s having none of that.
“This is my 10th year, and I’ve never played ‘Mike.’” Briggs said on Thursday. “It would be easier to play ‘Sam.’ It would be easier for me to play nickel [cornerback] than it would be for me to play Mike.”
It would indeed. Briggs was the starting strong-side linebacker his rookie season (2003) under Dick Jauron and Greg Blache. He has played the “dime” defensive back in the past because coach Lovie Smith reasoned that Briggs was better in coverage than the No. 4 cornerback or safety.
So why not Briggs to the strong-side spot and Geno Hayes to weak-side linebacker, where he has played his entire career?
Because then the Bears will have shuffled three different positions to fix one. At least with Roach going to the middle and Hayes to the strong side, it’s only two changes.
Another possible change would be rookie Shea McClellin to strong-side linebacker from defensive end. McClellin is being dropped into short zone coverages occasionally and was a hybrid linebacker/pass rusher at Boise State.
The kid will pass, thank you very much.
“[Coaches] want me to play defensive end and that’s what I’m focusing on right now,” McClellin. “I just want to get better at defensive end and not worry about another position.
“We’ll see what happens.”
Best guess is that McClellin could be used in different alignments against the Minnesota Vikings. He occasionally was even inside at defensive tackle against the Seattle Seahawks and was used to spy on mobile quarterback Russell Wilson.
Christian Ponder lacks Wilson’s mobility but the need to flow to Adrian Peterson’s point of attack is critical, and McClellin may be positioned better to do that from an upright, two-point stance.
“He’s athletic enough to drop back and do all those things,” Briggs said. “But no, we’re using him the right way. Our game plan and the way we run our defense is effective enough. You don’t have to go out and do a bunch of extra things. If we just go out and play our solid defense, we’ll be fine.”
Tags: Chicago Bears
, Lance Briggs
, Brian Urlacher
, Nick Roach
, Shea McClellin