Rookie LB Bostic will see lots of action
Injury to Williams means 2nd-rounder will see plenty of action in coming weeks
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BOURBONNAIS — When Phil Emery drafted linebacker Jonathan Bostic in the second round (50th overall), one of the reasons was because the general manager believed the Florida product could move into the starting lineup sooner rather than later.
Emery didn't mean this soon.
But, for the time being, the 22-year-old Bostic is the Bears' No. 1 middle linebacker. Ten-year veteran starter D.J. Williams suffered a serious enough calf injury early in Wednesday's practice that he has been classified as "week-to-week," a departure from the obligatory "day-to-day," designation most often used.
"I really didn't see anything," Bostic said. "They just told me, 'You have to go with the ones (starters).'"
Bostic has experience at middle linebacker, having started all 26 of the Gators' games there the past two seasons. He's been able to learn a new system with the Bears by following the lead of Williams and the other veterans — James Anderson and seven-time Pro Bowler Lance Briggs.
Bostic, whose father Jon was a Lions defensive back from 1985-87, dismisses the notion of being intimidated despite his inexperience.
"It's more just being out there and competing," he said. "You're playing with some of the best offensive players in the world, so being able to come out and compete with them each and every day is all I ask for."
Getting a look:
Injuries to Jermon Bushrod (calf) and Jonathan Scott (knee) left the Bears using veteran backup guard Eben Britton and first-year tackle Cory Brandon, who has never played in an NFL game, at first-team left tackle Wednesday.
But neither of the injuries is considered serious and both players are considered day-to-day. Bushrod was originally hurt Monday and Scott early in Wednesday's practice.
Asked if he was concerned about the O-line injuries, offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said: "No. I think now, as early as it is, they're minor injuries. We'll get them back as quickly as possible and it just gives other guys more reps."
Britton is a fifth-year veteran who was drafted by the Jaguars 39th overall in 2009 and started 30 games for Jacksonville, but just five last year, all of them at left guard, where he had been running with the second team. He also has 23 starts at right tackle.
"That's what football is all about," the 6-foot-6, 308-pound Britton said. "Guys might go down, and you just have to be ready to step in there and get the job done just as well as the (No.) 1 guys are."
Because the O-line is still a work in progress with competition ongoing at right tackle and right guard, Kromer is taking the current situation as an opportunity to evaluate more players.
"Our goal is to find the best five, and when we find the best five it will be obvious," he said. "Whether we put them at left guard, right guard, whoever they are, we'll find them. We don't control when that will happen. It'll just happen."
Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer is pleased to be on the same side as Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte.
"You can't appreciate him until you work with him every day," said Kromer, who is expected to make Forte a bigger part of the passing game than he was last year when he caught a career-low 44 balls. "Coming out of college (Tulane), we really wanted to draft him on the last team I was on (Saints), so I'm glad to join him at this point. Matt is very talented. He's strong, physical, patient and he's fast, which is an odd combination."
Cornerback Tim Jennings missed practice with an excused absence. … WR Brandon Marshall returned after missing one practice to rest his surgical hip. … DE Cheta Ozougwu (hamstring) returned after missing one practice. … Monday's crowd topped 5,000 despite overcast conditions.
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