LAKE FOREST – In getting with the spirit of the season, the now starting Bears’ middle linebacker decided to do some good.
On the team’s off day, Nick Kwiatkoski was helping to collect toys for the Care for Real organization at The Shops at North Bridge on Michigan Avenue. It’s a common routine for players around the holidays to help out where they can around the Chicagoland area.
While that’s something that comes around every year, a routine that’s going on when it comes to Kwiatkoski’s day job is unique to 2019. Frankly, it’s not the greatest thing to happen to the Bears, but they’ve managed to get by.
The fourth-year middle linebacker has been filling in for the injured Danny Trevathan since the Lions’ game on November 10th, with the starter out with an elbow injury. He’d did so earlier in the season in Week 4 when Roquan Smith was a late scratch for the Vikings’ game with a personal issue.
Now the team will have to deal without their other starting middle linebacker for the rest of the season.
Smith’s pectoral injury suffered on the first drive of the Bears’ win over the Cowboys last Thursday landed him on injured reserve. This means the middle linebackers will have to rely on the backups for likely the rest of the season.
Is this a worry for Kwiatkoski? Hardly in 2019.
“As a linebacking room, that’s been something we’ve been doing all year,” said Kwiatkoski Tuesday of replacing injury starters. “Just preparing like we’re starting, preparing like we’ll be playing. Working together pregame, on the field, on the sideline.
“For me, Kevin Pierre-Louis, it’s been kinda business as usual.”
That might be a little different for the latter since he’ll now see more playing time with Smith gone for the rest of the season. Pierre-Louis, a six-year NFL veteran who joined the Bears after spending the 2018 season with the Jets, had six tackles including one for loss filling in for Smith for all but the first series.
Before that game, he’d seen most of his action on special teams, making seven tackles in some limited action as a backup.
He’ll have the primary duty of filling in for Smith and Trevathan along with Kwiatkoski for the foreseeable future. Like Nick, Pierre-Louis has no worries about taking on the bigger role, because he knows it’s a collective effort to get the job done.
“It’s not college anymore where certain players feel like they have to do everything. We have the right pieces, so I have to make sure that I do my job and the rest of the team is gonna have my back when it comes to that for sure,” said Smith, who finds himself in a common position for the Bears’ linebackers in 2019.