For something that happens so often in a football game, you rarely hear athletes talk about accelerating. They sometimes mention the game slowing down and usually that's a good thing. It means they're so prepared for the game, that they actually see the high-speed action in slow-motion.
There are moments though where the athlete knows they need to reach another gear. If they're very conditioned and very lucky, their body simply responds. That wouldn't be an issue for Jon Bostic. He's a physical freak and a star of the Bears' preseason.
But this isn't that kind of faster.
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The Bears are pleased with the immediate impact new players like Kyle Long and Jordan Mills have made. But those rookies' respective calls to duty was necessary to solidify an offensive line at least partially responsible for 44 sacks in 2012. They — even in their NFL infancy — were better than any other options the team had.
Elsewhere however, the brass was fine allowing their second-round pick Bostic to cut his teeth on special teams while waiting and learning the middle linebacker responsibilities behind D.J. Williams. They no longer have that luxury after the veteran suffered a torn pectoral muscle Thursday night and is lost for the season.
This rookie's path has been accelerated.
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Before Thursday, Bostic's only regular-season action was on Joe DeCamillis' crew. Yes, he filled in for Williams during the preseason but even the 22-year-old knows that's not the same thing.
"It’s something you know, you don’t really believe it until it happens to you. Preseason is one thing, but regular season is totally different. There can’t be a drop off. You prepare each week like you’re the starter"
If we're reading the tea leaves, to say the coaches didn't think Bostic was ready for full-time duty isn't a reach. Bostic knows that's what they likely thought. But they've also done a good job of stressing "next man up" and he's eager to be that next man. Even if that means making mistakes during the learning curve like Bostic said he did on just about every play he was in for against the Giants.
The accountability is admirable but the admission — as well as the stats that support it — are unsettling. The challenge will be to eliminate the desire to make such an immediate impact that he plays outside of himself. That's when mistakes multiply. The good news is it seems no one will be harder on Bostic than he is on himself.
"I got to be. I don’t want to be the drop off there in the middle with me coming in," he said. "I just got to make sure I keep improving each and every day. I can’t be satisfied."