If Danny Trevathan is out for the second consecutive week, should Chicago Bears let Nick Kwiatkoski see an increased role?
When Jerrell Freeman went down for the season in Week one, some saw the glass half full as the Chicago Bears being able to get a good long look at their second-year linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski. Kwiatkowski started seven games as a rookie in 2016 with Danny Trevathan and Freeman shuffling in and out of the lineup. He showed some ups and left the idea that he could be a future starter.
His chance came earlier than expected in 2017 until injury snatched that away. A pectoral injury got Kwiatkowski 16 plays into the week two loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his first start of 2017.
Kwiatkowski sat from the second week of the season through week eight and only played one snap in his initial return against the Saints in week nine. After a bye week and a chance to get acclimated, the former West Virginia Mountaineer was set for a much bigger role in Week 10 against the Packers.
With Danny Trevathan sidelined due to injury, Kwiatkowski started beside Christian Jones. Despite the start, the Bears clearly did not think that Kwiatkowski was ready for a full snap load. He finished the game with 36 snaps, 54% of the defensive snaps.
Without Trevathan and the starter beside Jones being in a limited role, Jones was obviously in line to be the man in the middle to get everyone set and call the plays. However, that has always been an issue for Jones and has been something that has exposed his ceiling and his limitations.
It showed again on Sunday, as the team struggled to keep up with the Packers as alignment and assignment issues cost the team, helping turn what had been a strong defense into one with big holes against what should have been
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an inept Packers offense.
Kwiatkowski has to be ready for a full game workload by now. He is likely more talented than Jones, he has more upside than Jones and sitting at 3-6, the Bears have nothing to lose but to see if Kwiatkowski can handle an increased workload, and how he grows with the new responsibilities. Nick Kwiatkowski should be given the task of calling plays, and he should see a full snap count moving forward as the team figures out what they have in him moving forward.