Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC North [Print without images]

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Urlacher would start D.J. Williams at MLB

By ESPN.com staff

If Brian Urlacher could pick his replacement as Chicago Bears middle linebacker this season, he would go with the veteran over a promising rookie.

D.J. Williams
D.J. Williams practiced Monday for the first time since July 31.
D.J. Williams didn't play during the preseason because of a calf strain suffered early in training camp, creating an opportunity for rookie Jon Bostic. And the second-round pick out of Florida did just that, as he started all four preseason games.

Williams returned to practice on Monday and the Bears' official depth chart released Tuesday on the team website lists him as the starter and Bostic the backup. That doesn't mean Bostic won't start in the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, but Urlacher agrees with the thinking of going with the veteran player.

"I like the decision with D.J. I know the young kid had a good preseason but it is the preseason," Urlacher said Tuesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "He did well for what they asked him to do, but I like putting D.J. in there. He's a vet, he's been there and if he doesn't do well -- which I think he will, but if he doesn't -- then you put the young guy in.

"I didn't start my rookie year. My first two games I didn't start. I came in and played middle (linebacker) the third game of the year and that's where I stayed obviously."

But will Williams be able to get up to speed in time to take over as the starter after missing so much time during the preseason?

"If he can't you put the other kid in," said Urlacher, who is now an analyst for Fox Sports 1. "If you don't think he is doing his job on Sunday or if you think he can't do it in practice then you put the other guy in. They have that luxury now with Bostic having the type of preseason that he had and hopefully gaining some trust from his teammates and coaches that if they put him in there he can get the job done.

"And it takes a lot of pressure off him with Lance calling the defense and Lance making most of the checks it's a little bit easier for him to not have as much of the workload on him."

Briggs is impressed with Bostic but says he needs to prove himself in regular season play.

"I think he's a hell of a player and I think he's going to continue to be one of those carry-the-torch linebackers," Briggs said Tuesday on "Carmen & Jurko" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "Has he proven himself? He hasn't played a game yet. I'm excited to see him play but you've got to get it on tape. You've got to get it on tape with real live games so we're going to see."