The last time Nick Roach was the Bears starting middle linebacker it didnt work out especially well. For the sake of the Bears reaching the 2012 playoffs, this time needs to go significantly better.
Roach switched spots with Hunter Hillenmeyer in game four of the 2009 season and moved into the middle linebacker spot left open when Brian Urlacher suffered a season-ending wrist injury just before halftime of the opener at Green Bay. The Bears pounded the Detroit Lions 48-24 to go 3-1 on the season.
But after losses at Atlanta and Cincinnati, Hillenmeyer was moved back into the middle and Roach returned to his strong-side spot.
This time, however, Roach has spent time in the middle, with Urlacher rehabbing his knee through the preseason. The results were a dramatic improvement.
I feel very good about Nick Roach, like we did when we initially put him there, coach Lovie Smith said after the Bears had beaten the New York Giants in the preseason. Weve been around Nick for a few years now. Smart player, good football player, can make a lot of plays.
I havent really been disappointed with Nick Roach at all since hes been here. We have that Plan Two, of course its gotten a lot of work, where Brian being out and Nick taking advantage of it, and thats just helping his overall football play in general when you have to play a couple different positions as a linebacker.
The 2012 Roach MLB resume
With Roach starting at middle linebacker this preseason:
Vs. Denver: Peyton Manning drives the Broncos into the red zone before being intercepted. After a Bears turnover, the defense forces a three-and-out and Denver field goal, the only points against the No. 1 defense. Roach has one solo tackle.
Vs. Washington: Roach has two solo stops when the No. 1 defense is finished midway through the second quarter and the Bears up 17-3.
@ N.Y. Giants: The 1s play into the third quarter, with Eli Manning out at halftime. Roach has four tackles, one for loss, plus a pass breakup.
The Bears hope now is for Roach to bridge them to another meeting with Manning which would be in the NFC playoffs.