One of the best defenses in the NFL may be in trouble this weekend, as one of their key impact players, Lance Briggs, may be out for this weekend’s contest against Seattle. Briggs is still recovering from an ankle injury he suffered during the team’s 23-6 victory last week in Carolina. Things are not looking good for Briggs, who missed his second consecutive practice on Thursday. Lance has only missed three games during his eight-year career with the Bears. Saying he’s a valuable asset and important member on this defensive unit; would be a complete understatement.
“Lance Briggs’ ankle is a little bit of a concern,” said coach Lovie Smith. “Whenever you don’t practice for two straight days, it’s a little bit of a concern. But going on history, he normally comes through at the end of the week. If he can’t go, we have options with that. But hopefully that won’t be the case.”
As for Lance’s back-up and potential replacement Brian Iwuh, coach Smith seems confident enough in his abilities to step in for the Pro Bowl linebacker Briggs.
“He’s been around a while and when he’s played, we’ve like everything he’s done,” Smith said. “He started showing up in training camp making big hits and big plays. We feel comfortable with him, if Lance couldn’t go and we had to play him, just like finishing the game the other day. He stepped in and finished the game well.”
Iwuh is really excited for the opportunity to fill-in for #55, playing alongside Brian Urlacher at weak side linebacker.
“I’m really looking forward to it [the chance to start],” Iwuh said before Thursday’s practice. “I think I prepare well, and I’m still learning things. I’ve been in the system for a little while now, and I’ve been practicing hard. I’m really looking forward to getting the chance to go out there and play, if it happens.”
#54 knows Iwuh is more than capable of getting the job done if Briggs is not ready to go.
“He’s been a good player right from the summer when he got here,” Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher said. “He knows the defense, knows the concepts of the defense really well. When he gets a chance to play defense, he does well. He had a good training camp at weakside linebacker. If he’s playing next to me, I definitely trust him.”
The team has exhibited tremendous play at the linebacker position, now let’s see if the defense is prepared to pick up the slack for an injured member. Up until now, the defense has been completely healthy aside from rookie safety Major Wright. I’m interested to see how they respond to their first possible setback. I’m still pulling for Briggs to suit up, and have to believe he’s got a legitimate shot in doing so.
“No matter what, he always seems to be ready on game day,” Iwuh said of Briggs. Despite wanting to see some fresh faces, I’m hoping Iwuh is right concerning Lance’s readiness for game day.