I was going to open up with a long winded "Gone is the Batman to Lance Briggs' Robin" lede, but the nerd in me would want to go into Dick Grayson vs. Tim Drake, and touch on the Nightwing transitioning to Batman dynamic, and then there's the Damian Robin, and who can forget Azrael... So I decided to forgo the entire Comic Book opening I had planned, because I feared I would lose too many of you.
Even though Lance Briggs is a huge comic book fan...
If you're still here, I'll de-nerdify my open, and keep it simple. For the first time in Lance Briggs' career, he'll be playing without Brian Urlacher by his side. This is a big deal.
For years, Bear defenders have looked to Urlacher for answers, they've relied on him to align the defense, they've looked to him for leadership, and they looked to him for the defensive play.
This year, at Briggs' request, he'll be the man in control of the huddle during games. It's usually the middle linebacker that has the radio receiver in his helmet to relay the playcall to his teammates, but in 2013, this will be Lance's responsibility.
One other responsibility that falls on Briggs is helping the new defensive coaches learn the scheme. Once new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and head coach Marc Trestman made the decision to stay as a Tampa 2 team, the returning veterans and returning coaches became teachers. Here's what Tim Tibesar, the Bears new linebackers coach had to say about Briggs.
"I've certainly leaned on him to help me learn the system ... and he's embraced that. He's welcomed me and then he's helped out in our meeting rooms. ... That's what I asked him to do and he's more than willing to do it."
It's not just the coaches that will benefit from Briggs' knowledge of the defense, most of the linebacker depth chart is brand new to Chicago. Newly signed veterans James Anderson and D.J. Williams will most likely start along side Briggs, and rookies Jonathan Bostic and Khaseem Greene could see some playing time as well.
At no other time during his decade in Chicago, has there been more responsibility heaped on Briggs' shoulders than there will be in 2013. The seven time Pro Bowler has been a key component playing from his weakside linebacker position, but now he has the opportunity to be "The Man" on the Bears D.
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