Injuries are an inescapable reality in the NFL. The best teams are the ones that find ways to navigate them. This is often done through building quality depth. The Chicago Bears‘ depth is about to get tested on Sunday. Not only did they suffer a frustrating loss in Green Bay to the Packers, but they also got banged up on the defensive side of the ball. Nowhere is that clearer than the linebacker position.
Roquan Smith has missed two straight practices with a hip injury. Now fellow starter Matthew Adams is nursing a hamstring problem. According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, there is a strong likelihood Adams will miss Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans. That means the Bears will need to find a replacement. That means the odds are favorable fans will get their first look at undrafted rookie Jack Sanborn.
#Bears LB Matt Adams popping on injury report Thursday with a hamstring is not a good sign for Sunday.
Could present opportunity for a rookie: Jack Sanborn or Sterling Weatherford.
Adams has been on field for 26.4% of snaps thru 2 games. Feeling is Roquan Smith (hip) will play.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) September 23, 2022
.@ChicagoBears #JackSanborn keeps showing up playing almost 90 snaps in 2 preseason games. NEWSFLASH!! If you are need of Lbers pay a visit to Madison @BadgerFootball #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/q4uQNvLQqJ
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) August 23, 2022
Sanborn has a big opportunity with the Chicago Bears.
Many felt the linebacker out of Wisconsin deserved to get drafted. Some even gave him 4th round grades. It was never clear why he fell through the cracks. The consensus is teams had reservations about his average athleticism and speed. Sanborn’s answer was an outstanding preseason where he made 14 tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery. His instincts stood out from the moment he stepped on the field. This game could be the perfect stage for him to silence doubters.
Houston is a mirror image of the Chicago Bears under Lovie Smith. They want to run the football and control the clock. That means the linebackers should see a lot of action. Sanborn’s bread and butter were defending the run in college. So that role should serve him well. The team will likely try to keep him off the field in passing situations. If he can make an impact, then there’s a strong possibility he may push Adams for more playing time sooner than later.