Willie Young gearing up for former team

Against the Detroit Lions on Thursday, Chicago Bears defensive end Willie Young will get his first shot at the team that drafted him.

Superman is residing at Halas Hall, or at least that’s the way Chicago Bears defensive end Willie Young feels about second-year offensive lineman Kyle Long.

“He’s the best,” Young said today. “When I think about Kyle I think of super powers. Why right now he could be running around the roof in the snow, in bare feet and probably without a shirt. That would be typical for Kyle. The guy’s so tough; a total beast. I am really looking forward to watching how he handles my old Detroit teammate Ndamukong Suh this weekend. Knowing Kyle, he’s probably licking his chops right now, relishing this challenge.”

Young signed with the Bears last May after four years in Detroit, during which he rose from a seventh-round draft pick to a starter. He’s familiar with Lions personnel, particularly along the defensive line, where he once resided.

“I’ve gone against the older players there a million times in practice so yes, I am fairly confident that I am familiar with their particular moves,” Young said. “That’s why I think Kyle will be such a great fit against Detroit. He brings that intensity we need in these kinds of situations.”

Young said Suh, who has 4.5 sacks this season and is widely considered one of the best defensive tackles in the game, is a force Chicago’s offense must contain.

“It’s all about the dominance he brings to the game. His presence. That kind of thing,” said Young, who also praised Lions defensive linemen Nick Fairley, C.J. Mosley and Ziggy Ansah. “You’ve got to watch out for them because these guys are playing ball.”

The New England Patriots posted 34 points on the Lions last week, handing Detroit its second loss in a row. Yet Young said that game isn’t indicative of the Lions’ defense this season, which ranks first in the NFL in points allowed, third in total defense and first in rushing defense.

“The Pats tend to do that a lot,” said Young. “Look at our record and at other teams who have faced them. It wasn’t pretty and doesn’t necessarily indicate a defense in distress. New England has their offense really going right now. They are scoring a lot of points on just about everybody.”

Chicago’s defense has given up just 26 points the past two games combined, yet the Lions can put up point in bunches. If the Bears are shut out in the first half – as they’ve been in three of the past five contests – against Detroit’s top-tier defense, the pressure would then fall on Chicago’s defenders to keep the game within reach.

“We’ve got to come out strong on both sides of the ball, obviously,” said Young. “That is on all our heads. And when you are talking about this kind of game, in a loud indoor stadium, nationally televised, on a major holiday, it’s going to be intense from the get-go. You want to dominate, get the crowd out of the game immediately and take it from there.”

Young leads the Bears with 8.0 sacks this season, yet he’s never before had the opportunity to sack Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. Detroit has given up the sixth most sacks in the league this year (33), so Young has a great opportunity to finally tackle his former teammate.

“Back when I was with Detroit, I was always told during practice that the quarterback was untouchable,” Young said. “Fortunately, I won’t have to worry about that this Thursday.”



Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 17 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.

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