Chicago Bears' defensive lineman Nate Collins has built a reputation for being a solid contributor. With the season-ending injury to Pro Bowler Henry Melton, he's now being thrust into the role of starter on a 3-0 team. But Collins thinks he's ready for the challenge.
"Just having the opportunity to be on the defense, be in the rotation, that's the opportunity, and it's really no different for me," Collins said. "I just have to go out there, and make the plays I need to make, and just play well like I've been doing."
Collins has been seeing time as a rotational player already this season. He's recorded seven tackles, and has generally acquitted himself well. But the fourth-year player out of Virginia has never been asked to take starters reps on a weekly basis, so he's gearing up by keeping things simple.
"I'm just trying to do my job… we have a gap defense, and as long as I stay in my gap then that's what I need to do and that's what I'm going to continue to do," Collins said.
"I feel like we're both guys that can penetrate and push the pocket.," said Collins. "We're smaller guys in there, we try to use our leverage to our advantage. When we go up against bigger guys we need to stick with our technique and use our technique to our advantage."
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