It's worth wondering on Wednesday afternoon whether the Chicago Bears' long-term plans at middle linebacker are about to mesh with their immediate ones.
Veteran D.J. Williams was carted off the practice field because of a calf injury, and according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com, he will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis. That's NFL-speak for a relatively long-term injury, and it means that rookie Jon Bostic will get an extended opportunity to win the job out of training camp.
The Bears made Bostic their second-round pick in April, and since then we all have assumed he would eventually take over the position vacated by Brian Urlacher's retirement. Williams provided the Bears some transition insurance, but as we discussed this spring, he has no guaranteed money in his contract.
Williams could still figure prominently in the Bears' defense this season even if Bostic capitalizes on this opportunity. His career versatility means he could shift outside and handle the strongside role currently manned by James Anderson.
For now, at least, all eyes will be on Bostic. How will he react to extended first-team repetitions? We're about to find out.