The Bears won’t make it official, but rookie linebacker Khaseem Greene is indeed expected to start Monday night at Green Bay, and it will be at the weak-side linebacker spot vacant because of the shoulder injury to Lance Briggs.
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Veteran James Anderson has played all three linebacker spots during his career. But indications are that he will remain at his strong-side position rather than shift and create even more change in a unit already hit by the loss of middle linebacker D.J. Williams.
“[Greene] has had two very good days of practice, I would say that,” coach Marc Trestman said on Friday. “To say he's ‘solidified’ it, I wouldn't say that today. But I've seen him do very well the last two days and work in with James Anderson and Bostic and making the calls and being in the right place. So I'm encouraged with the first two days of practice, no doubt about it.”
Greene brings some pass-defense and blitz abilities to the position, two hallmarks of Briggs’ play over the past decade. Greene converted from safety to weak-side linebacker as a junior and delivered 9.5 sacks over his final two years at Rutgers, good enough to earn him honors as Big East defensive player of the year in 2012 and co-winner in 2011.
Briggs already has tutored Greene in what exactly the kid will be up against in Aaron Rodgers.
“He’s a genius,” Greene said. “Lance has been telling me he’s a very, very smart guy, so you have to be fundamentally sound and trust your keys.”
The Bears’ anemic pass rush is a concern and Greene will be more than willing to blitz if it falls in the plans of coordinator Mel Tucker.
“Hopefully,” Greene said, laughing. “That’s what I like to do.”