Chicago Sun-Times

A look at Bears depth chart at linebacker

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I've gotten some questions regarding the strongside linebacker position, specifically if Geno Hayes is pushing Nick Roach.

At the moment, Roach is running with the starters, and his backup is J.T. Thomas, a sixth-round pick last year who was placed on IR before the season. Brian Urlacher is being backed in the middle by Dom DeCicco, and Hayes is behind weakside linebacker Lance Briggs.

That's not to say, at some point, Hayes could swing over.

For Thomas, though, he's just happy to be back on the field.

"It's just good to be back on the field at full speed, seeing things, getting reps," he said. "That's the best experience. Being able to watch and being able to participate are two different things."

Thomas said last year was the first in 15 or 16 years he hadn't played football.

"Even when I redshirted back at West Virginia I at least practiced," he said. "So it was a little weird getting back on the field, knocking the rust off."

Thoma also understands that contributing on special teams is essential for him. Blake Costanzo, a linebacker primarily signed for his special teams talents, has flashed some positives at linebacker.

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I like Nick Roach, I think he's an underrated player, which is gonna happen when you line up next to two future Hall of Famers. Also, I'm not all that sure Geno Hayes is really an upgrade. One of the knocks on Hayes is he relies on speed to compensate for poor pursuit angles, which isn't a good thing for a strongside linebacker. Hayes is also not very disciplined, Roach is a better starter.

Now, J.T Thomas, with time, could be a pretty good player. Nice size at 241lbs, for his career at West Virginia he had 223 tackles, 27 for loss, and 13 pass breakups. Thomas is known for taking good angles on the ball and wraps on on contact, and is relentless fighting off blocks. He could be a keeper GO BEARS!!

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on August 1, 2012 12:59 PM.

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