Free safety Anthony Walters is expected to make his first NFL start Sunday against the Lions, but linebacker Lance Briggs isn’t worried about the second-year pro’s lack of experience.
“Even though a lot of us haven’t seen Walters on the field on Sundays, we’ve seen him plenty on the practice field,” Briggs said. “The guy is capable, smart. He understands where he needs to fit, and that’s what’s most important. You have 10 other guys out there on the field that are very familiar with what we’re doing. He’ll feel comfortable. He’ll fit right in with the rest of us.”
Walters recorded two tackles in the second half of last Sunday’s win over the Cardinals after Chris Conte exited with a pulled hamstring. The 6-1, 207-pounder has appeared in all 15 games this season and is tied for third on the team with 10 special teams tackles.
Walters insists he isn’t nervous joining a defense that features veteran stars such as linebacker Lance Briggs, defensive end Julius Peppers and cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings.
“I think those guys can help take some of that pressure away,” Walters said. “All I have to do is be where I’m supposed to be when I’m supposed to be there, and those guys make plays.”
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As an unheralded second-year pro, safety Anthony Walters looks at every preseason game as another chance to prove he deserves a spot on the Bears’ 53-man roster.
“I came in undrafted, so you never know what’s going to happen,” Walters said Monday. “Every opportunity I have I try to take advantage of and I’ve had a couple since I’ve been here.”
Walters joined the Bears as an undrafted free agent from Delaware in 2011. After spending the first five weeks of the season on the practice squad, he was promoted to the 53-man roster. The 6-1, 207-pounder recorded one special teams tackle in four games before being placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
Walters appears to be the fourth safety on the depth chart behind starters Chris Conte and Major Wright and top reserve Craig Steltz. Rookie Brandon Hardin was placed on injured reserve Sunday, seemingly enhancing Walters’ odds of earning a roster spot. But with final cuts looming Friday, he isn’t planning on buying green bananas.
“They haven’t really said anything about it,” Walters said. “I don’t have an apartment yet, I’ll tell you that. I’m just still living where they pay for it. I’m not really sure.”
Walters preserved last Friday night’s preseason win over the Giants by deflecting a David Carr pass to teammate Isaiah Frey, who intercepted the ball in the end zone with 1:06 remaining. Walters has also been contributing on special teams, a necessity for most non-starters.
“If you want to make the roster, it’ll be through special teams,” Walters said. “I learned that last year, and right now special teams are just as important as defense.”
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