Bears linebacker D.J. Williams to miss rest of season; Jon Bostic will step in
BY ADAM L. JAHNS October 11, 2013 9:08PM
Updated: November 13, 2013 6:09AM
Let the Jon Bostic era begin.
But not by choice.
On Friday, linebacker D.J. Williams became the third key defensive player to be ruled out for the season.
Williams tore a pectoral tendon on his left side in the Bears’ 27-21 victory Thursday night over the New York Giants. A source said Williams’ injury will require surgery.
It’s just another big loss for a banged-up defense. The Bears already lost defensive tackles Henry Melton and Nate Collins with torn anterior cruciate ligaments in their left knees. On top of it, cornerback Charles Tillman sat out Thursday with a knee injury, and defensive tackle Stephen Paea missed his second straight game with a nagging toe injury.
The next-man-up mentality, as coach Marc Trestman called the defense’s injury-riddled situation again, is simply their everyday reality.
So enter Bostic.
The Bears selected Bostic in the second round to be Brian Urlacher’s eventual replacement. But the Bears preferred to have him sit and learn behind Williams, who was signed to a one-year deal this offseason. Not even Bostic’s highlight-filled preseason or the time Williams missed with a calf injury could change that plan.
Now, Bostic gets to show how ready he is.
Bostic played in place of Williams against the Giants, getting his first defensive snaps — 21 in all — of the season.
“I thought he was active; he was around the football,” Trestman said. “He’s mentally ready to take on playing that position.
‘‘The experience he had [against the Giants] will certainly help him down the road.”
It helps that Bostic has extra time to work with the first-team defense and prepare for the Washington Redskins. But there’s no denying that the Bears’ defense is reeling. The success the Giants had offensively — particularly running back Brandon Jacobs rumbling his way to 106 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries — underscores the problem.
“Can we handle any more injuries? I don’t want any more injuries,” linebacker Lance Briggs said Thursday at Soldier Field. “I don’t think we want another injury. That’s just part of the game. There are guys getting hurt in the NFL left and right.
“Luckily, we have a little extended week before we play the Redskins, and we have an opportunity for some guys to get healthy.”
Linebacker James Anderson is one of them. He suffered a back injury against the Giants, leading to some defensive snaps for special-teamer Blake Costanzo and opportunities for Bostic to play in the Bears’ nickel package.
“I think [Anderson will] be OK,” Trestman said. “There’s nothing serious there. . . . It was nothing severe.”
Trestman thought the Bears’ defense was good in third-down and red-zone situations in their losses against the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints. But against the Giants, that wasn’t the case.
Trestman isn’t one to make excuses, but the Bears’ injury situation and the fact they were playing Thursday after a tough game against the Saints on Sunday factored into the Giants’ offensive success.
“We’re sitting there without [Tillman]; we’re sitting there without [Paea],” Trestman said. “We’ve got some young guys in there working. They haven’t worked with [Julius] Peppers. They haven’t worked with Shea [McClellin] as much. [Defensive end] Corey [Wootton] is inside [at tackle]. But I do believe that just experience-wise, playing 36 minutes and the type of game we played on Sunday did have a residual effect on our defense. We’ll find out more next week because I thought the two previous weeks we were solid in those special-situation areas.”