When the Bears traded away veteran defensive end Jared Allen a couple weeks ago, it had as much to do with wanting to give younger players a chance to play as it did giving Allen a chance to go back to playing in a 4-3 defense.
One of those players who has benefitted from the move is fifth-year pro Sam Acho.
Acho, who spent the first four years of his career playing in Arizona, is one of the few linebackers on the Bears team who has played in a 3-4 defense before. Acho signed a short-term deal in the offseason — then was cut and re-signed in September due to a non-football illness — so whether or not he fits into the team’s long-term plans is unknown.
But he led the team in tackles on Sunday and has a good understanding of what the Bears are trying to do on defense, and he just might play himself into a contract extension at the end of the season if he continues to progress.