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 dont particularly like them.
One is to move Lance Briggs from his weak-side spot into the middle. Hes having none of that.
This is my 10th year, and Ive 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, its 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 linebackerpass rusher at Boise State.
The kid will pass, thank you very much.
Coaches want me to play defensive end and thats what Im focusing on right now, McClellin. I just want to get better at defensive end and not worry about another position.
Well 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 Wilsons mobility but the need to flow to Adrian Petersons point of attack is critical, and McClellin may be positioned better to do that from an upright, two-point stance.
Hes athletic enough to drop back and do all those things, Briggs said. But no, were using him the right way. Our game plan and the way we run our defense is effective enough. You dont have to go out and do a bunch of extra things. If we just go out and play our solid defense, well be fine.