D.J. Williams, out with a severe calf injury all of preseason and nearly all of training camp, admitted to his frustrations on Monday and is now being termed “day to day” in a late-starting competition with rookie Jon Bostic for the No. 1 middle-linebacker job.
Coach Marc Trestman did not rule out the Bears having a new starting middle linebacker before the month is out.
“What we’re doing this week may change dramatically, where we wind up in three to four weeks relative to that position,” Trestman said, declining to specify how Williams could move back ahead of Bostic at this point with no training camp and preseason games to use.
Williams returned to practice on Monday and was in occasional groupings with James Anderson and Lance Briggs. But because of the nature of his injury he has had little chance to do the legwork that is a necessary part of his job.
“Not being able to do much for two, three weeks, it’s hard,” Williams said.
Bostic is less concerned with any position battle than with what he has coming up Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"I'm preparing for a real game,” Bostic said. “They told me all along the preseason is one speed, but the regular season is another speed. I'm really just figuring out how to prepare for a game."
Bostic is projected as the future in the middle of the Bears defense. But the NFL is a win-now league and Bostic is not going to be accorded any advantages simply because he is the team’s second-round draft choice.
The one who starts will be “the player that is making the plays, the player that is doing the best,” said general manager Phil Emery. “For us, it’s always better or worse. Who is better for those given circumstances than the other player? So whoever is playing better whatever the given opportunity is, they’ll have earned their way to be the starter.
“If that’s Bostic, great. If that’s Williams, great. We have no preferences in this building.”