By Kevin Ross II
The Chicago Bears sit atop the NFC North with an overall record of 4-2. The Bears view this Sunday’s competition against the Redskins as a very winnable game where they may not be threatened.
Chicago will enter FedEx field well rested after ending a two-game losing streak on Thursday Night Football, as they defeated the winless Giants by the final score of 27-21.
The Bears defense has acknowledged that Robert Griffin III—although not the same as last season—is still very dynamic and will present a great challenge to their young defense. Chicago lost their starting middle linebacker, D.J. Williams, for the remainder of the season as he suffered a torn pectoral muscle against the Giants.
Fortunately for Chicago, they used last season’s draft to add depth across the board, and in the second round drafted Jon Bostic, who was a three year starter at linebacker for the University of Florida. Bostic’s statistics were through the roof as he recorded 237 tackles, eight sacks and five interceptions in only 51 games.
The Bears rated Bostic as the most athletically gifted middle linebacker in the draft, but most importantly they were impressed with his intellect and depth of knowledge about how defenses work and operate. Come Sunday, Bostic will have his opportunity to quarterback the defense and to put his teammates in the right position to win, and he seems up to the challenge.
“Every week I’m preparing like I’m the starter anyway. I wasn’t too surprised about it. But now I’ve got to step up. I don’t want any drop-off from D.J to me. I’ve just got to go out there and just prepare the best I can and go out there and do my best,” said Bostic.
The speed and athleticism that Bostic will bring on Sunday is a direct contrast to what Washington will have at middle linebacker. London Fletcher has had one of his worst seasons as a professional. But surprisingly, the defense has been one of the few bright spots for Washington following another division loss on Sunday Night Football.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan spoke about the great play of his defense compared to the other units on the team.
“It was the best game we’ve played defensively without a question. I’m very proud of our defense with the way they went out there and fought. You’re going against a very talented football team like Dallas and to control them in the running game and somewhat in the passing game, to play at that level, I’m very pleased. So that’s a very positive part of what happened against Dallas. But when you go and look at the offense and the special teams, we were pretty average. We weren’t as consistent as we should be on offense and the same thing with special teams. One guy can be a little bit off. You can have a lot of yards, and you can look good in the running game and the passing game, but if you don’t get the ball in the end zone, it really doesn’t matter,” said Shanahan.
And that has been the story of the Redskins football team this season—when one unit is performing well, the other unit is at its worst. The Redskins must put together a complete game where the offense, defense, and special teams all click together. The defense has improved its play, and the offense must take advantage of Chicago’s rookie middle linebacker.
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Kevin Ross is a freelance writer covering all things Washington Redskins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.