Bostic delivers crushing hit to Chargers WR

Jon Bostic has not played like an intimidated rookie. Rather, he could end up starting at middle linebacker. Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO -- There has been no shortage of memorable plays in Chicago Bears middle linebacker Jon Bostic's young NFL career.

One week after returning an interception for a touchdown in the preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers, Bostic was at it again Thursday night in his Solider Field debut, delivering a vicious hit to San Diego Chargers wide receiver Mike Willie on a short pass on the third play of the second half. The force of the impact caused Willie to drop the ball, resulting in an incompletion.

"Obviously, it was a big hit," Bostic said. "We were trying to take the ball away, that's the main thing. I kind of read it kind of quick because of something we had on up front. It was a big hit. But we were trying to take the ball out, but we didn’t get it."

Bostic said he wasn't sure if it was the biggest hit of his career.

"I haven't seen it [a replay of the hit] yet," Bostic said.

Like the rest of the rookie class, Bostic's overall preseason body of work has included some bad sprinkled in with the good. But there is something to be said when a first-year player is able to contribute impact plays in the preseason.

Although the organization's original plan called for veteran D.J. Williams to start the season at middle linebacker, it's going to be difficult to move Bostic out of the spot, even if Williams returns in the next week from a severe calf injury that has sidelined him since the beginning of training camp.

Is Bostic ready to line up at middle linebacker for the Bears in the regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 8?

"Only time will tell," Bostic said. "I have a long way to go. I'm not satisfied with where I'm at. I need to keep learning. You just have to make sure you keep improving."

Bostic wisely gave the politically correct and modest answer, but veteran defensive end Corey Wootton wholeheartedly endorsed the idea of the second-round pick starting the season on the first-team defense.

"He's done a great job stepping up so far as a rookie," Wootton said. "Most guys coming in are timid, but not him. He's coming downhill, shocking and locking these linemen out and making plays. It's pretty incredible to see a rookie do that."