Nick Roach insists that moving from his strongside position to play middle linebacker in place of Brian Urlacher the past week in practice hasn’t required much of an adjustment.
“It isn’t too much different because a lot of times we’re just running through or gap or taking on blockers or dropping,” Roach said. “All the linebacker movements aren’t all that much different.
“There’s just a lot more vocal communication. We all communicate as a defense to each other, but now you have to start off a lot of the checks and getting people lined up.”
After missing four straight practices with knee soreness, Urlacher has been excused from workouts the last two days due to an undisclosed personal reason. Roach started three games at middle linebacker in 2009 after Urlacher suffered a season-ending injury and is gaining more valuable experience at the position in camp.
“We like our depth,” said coach Lovie Smith. “Nick Roach is our backup ‘Mike’ linebacker. He had an outstanding day [Monday]. Nick’s played good, winning football around here for us.”
Last season Roach started 15 of 16 games played at strongside linebacker, recording 61 tackles and six tackles-for-loss. He isn’t concerned that filling in for Urlacher will keep him from improving at his regular position.
“I don’t think so,” Roach said. “When you’re at middle, you’re thinking about your position but you know where everybody else is anyway, and even playing strongside I have to know where Brian and [weakside linebacker] Lance [Briggs] are to adjust my own fits. I don’t think it will hurt too much.”
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