Leap of faith

The Bears thought enough of <!--Default NodeId For Jerry Azumah is 722148,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:722148]>Jerry Azumah</A> and <!--Default NodeId For Mike Green is 292207,2002--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:292207]>Mike Green</A> to let Walt Harris and Tony Parrish leave as free agents, while those decisions can be questioned the team made a similar move this offseason when they let Rosevelt Colvin go hoping Bryan Knight can fill the void.

Colvin has been the Bears pass rush the last two seasons. The linebacker/rush specialist led the team with 10.5 sacks in both 2001 and 2002.

As a rookie Bryan Knight played the role of the understudy to Colvin. Playing in 15 games Knight came away with three fumble recoveries and 1.5 sacks. Now, he is expected to replace Colvin as the Bears strong-side linebacker.

"When I was just starting out and Rosie was in, I had many opportunities to watch how he played," Knight said. "Everybody is definitely going to miss him. He was a heck of a player but I'm ready to come in and do what needs to be done. I feel that I am ready to step up and take the starting job right now."

For as much as the two players are mentioned in the same sentence they are different players.

"Bryan's got different skills that Rosey," said Dick Jauron. "He's faster than Rosey and probably a little bit quicker athlete. Rosey had a great feel for the game of football and he had a feel for pass rush too, used his hands well, had a sense of what the tackle was trying to do, could work with what the tackle was trying to do to him.

"I would say in terms of the things we talked about-speed and foot quickness-he's (Knight) ahead. In terms of probably overall feel, I think he's probably quite not where Rosey was. I do think though he's a talented player and he's got a good feel for the game, so I believe those things will come in time."

The Bears hope the time is now as Knight isn't expected to be a pass rusher, but at 240 pounds he needs to be able to stop the run.

Although, Knight has put on weight in the offseason it will be a different story to keep it on during a humid training camp and during a 16-week regular season.

"The coaches never told me to get to a certain weight, they just told me to weigh where I could keep my speed up," Knight said. "That's where I am right now. This game is all about speed. That's the most important thing that I learned last year. Guys are flying all around out there. As long as I'm physically comfortable, I'm strong, and I can move fast, then I'd say my weight is right about where it should be."

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