One of the only starting positions still undecided for the 2013 Bears is middle linebacker. Today Lance Briggs claimed DJ Williams is the starter, while Marc Trestman said the Bears have not decided yet. So who’s it going to be? Here is a breakdown:
The Vet: DJ Williams
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Experience – Williams has been in the league since 2004 and played in 127 NFL games.
Play-calling – The MLB has traditionally made the audible calls in the Bears scheme and 9 seasons of experience give Williams an edge on reading formations and making the correct call.
Versatility – Williams has played at least a full season at all three linebacker spots.
Consistent productivity – In 4 season at MLB in Denver, Williams never finished with below 93 solo tackles and had 5 sacks in both 2010 & 2011.
Age – Williams hasn’t played at a high level since 2011, but too be fair he hasn’t been on the field. He missed most of 2012 due to suspension and has missed most of training camp and the preseason with a calf injury. At 31 years old, can he still play at a high level?
Mobility – MLB is a demanding position in the Bears defensive scheme and if Williams is still nursing a calf injury it will be a struggle for him to be as mobile sideline-to-sideline and in coverage as the Bears need him to be.
Reliability – Williams is coming off a 9-game suspension for substance abuse and has two drunk driving arrests on his record during his time in Denver. Can he make it through the season without an incident? If the Bears are going to have to start Bostic late in the year, it would be better to have him get his growing pains out of the way now.