The Chicago media's love affair with Johnny Knox was doomed from the start, though his seven-yard touchdown catch on Sunday illustrated the combination of speed and toughness that are quickly becoming his trademarks. This week's cover girl is linebacker Nick Roach, whom Dan Pompei has fallen for in the Trib. Lovie Smith added his impression:
Nick has a lot of quickness. He can get off blocks and get off them
well. He's a good rusher, and he's good at pass coverage. All the
things we ask our linebackers to do, Nick does a good job of.
With Hunter Hillenmeyer almost certainly out this week against Detroit, Roach will make a start at the most celebrated position in the history of one of the sport's most celebrated franchises. He'll do so at Soldier Field, in front of 61,500 folks more-than-willing to change the 4 on the back of their jerseys to a 3.
That is what's at stake for Nick Roach this Sunday and moving forward. The Bears know that while Hunter Hillenmeyer provides veteran stability in the middle, he lacks explosiveness. Roach lacks for nothing, physically, and we can assume the Northwestern degree denotes a working machine between the ears. There's no reason to debate his ability to produce. He has the chance now, starting against the Detroit Lions. If he wants the job, it's his. And he only need to watch this video to know what this rivalry meant to the greatest who ever played the position.