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Henry Melton's Injury is a Problem; Jon Bostic Shows Smooth Transition

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We discuss the options for generating pass-rush with Henry Melton having suffered a concussion, and talk about Jonathan Bostic's strong debut on Friday.

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Henry Melton left Friday's game against the Panthers with a concussion, which probably isn't the way Melton wanted the first action of his franchise-tender season to go. More than that, we kind of got a taste of what the Bears' front four looks like with Julius Peppers taking the day off, Corey Wootton likewise taking the day off, and missing their top pass-rushing defensive tackle. And for a defense predicated on generating pass-rush and capitalizing on mistakes, the lack of pass-rush wasn't a good thing to see.

I did like some of what I saw out of Cornelius Washington, and I think as he gets used to playing defensive end in a 4-3 again, we'll see some better stuff out of him in the remainder of the preseason, which should provide a little better pass-rush. Not sure he picks it up enough to avoid being a cut/practice squad player, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him come down with a strained sternum that for some reason takes all year to recover from, because he's a slow healer, wink wink.

As far as their actual defensive-tackle options go, Nate Collins will get the first crack at starting three-tech if Melton's out for a significant length of time, but I did like what I saw out of Zach Minter as a potential lower-depth-chart option. He might be more of a practice-squad candidate, but if they need to keep a fourth or fifth tackle, you might see Minter's name in that discussion.

I'll admit, I did have a couple worries about Jonathan Bostic jumping into the fray immediately, with D.J. Williams out. That being said, he had a very strong debut, and it should make for a smooth transition into the post-Urlacher era. If Williams falters, Bostic may well be able to start day one - I do want to see him do it again on Thursday before I crown any rookie, but I think with all the additions to the linebacking corps, the Bears will be just fine.