Monday, October 28, 2013
Greene the likely replacement for Briggs
By Michael C. Wright ESPN.com
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman indicated on Monday the club plans to give rookie Khaseem Greene the first opportunity to replace starting weakside linebacker Lance Briggs.
Briggs is expected to be held out at least six weeks as he recovers from a fracture in his left shoulder, leaving the team to make a choice for the potential replacement between Green, veteran Blake Costanzo and new additions Jerry Franklin and Larry Grant, who signed on Monday with the Bears.
Linebacker Khaseem Greene could see his first extensive playing time of the 2013 season on Monday, should he be tabbed the starter to replace injured Lance Briggs.
“We’re working at it,” Trestman said. “Khaseem wil certainly get a very good look here (as the) No. 1 and we’ve got Jerry, we’ve got Blake, and we just brought in Grant. But we’ll start with Khaseem and we’ll see how the week goes. We’ve got a long way to go before we get started.”
A fourth-round pick out of Rutgers, Greene played one snap at linebacker during the club’s Oct. 20 loss to the Washington Redskins. With extra days to prepare for what could be his debut as a starter at Green Bay next Monday night, Greene admitted he’s fired up about the chance to see extended playing time.
“I am. I’ve played one snap of defense this year, and just having an opportunity to maybe get out there and be a starter and play way more snaps is enough in itself to be fired up,” Greene said. “I’ve just got to stay calm, trust the defense, trust the scheme, and also build some confidence in my teammates so they know I can actually go out there and compete if I’m the guy. I feel good. This is one day we all look forward to doing is being starters in the NFL."
To prepare for the task, Greene said he’s been able to rely on Briggs, who has acted as somewhat of a coach “to help me as much as he can,” in addition to fellow rookie Jonathan Bostic, who made his debut as a starter against the Redskins as a replacement for injured starter D.J. Williams.
Bostic and Greene have been roommates since joining the club.
“Tell you the truth, we’re really similar players,” Bostic said of Greene. “We’re going to depend on each other, we’re going to have to help each other. We have to do a lot of talking out there, get our chemistry back, what we had throughout preseason. It’ll definitely be a fun process; (we’ve) just got to keep going out there and having fun.”
At Rutgers, Greene started in 39 of 51 games, including a 2012 season in which he started 12 games at free safety and earned Big East Defensive Player of the Years in back-to-back years. Greene forced an NCAA-record 15 fumbles in college, and hopes to use those takeaway skills into Chicago’s starting lineup if given the opportunity.
But Greene also mentioned the need to be resistant to pressing too hard when asked about what he’s learned throughout a brief NFL tenure.
“It’s hard to win games in the National Football League. That’s what I’ve observed,” Greene said, “and also that you can’t try to do too much. If I’m the starter, I can’t go out there and try to be Lance and try to do too much because I’m not him. I can learn from him, and I’ve learned a lot from him. But I can’t go out there and try to force myself to make plays and stuff like that, or I’ll end up hurting the defense and the team.”