It looks like Jack Sanborn passed the audition.
The undrafted rookie linebacker from Wisconsin and Lake Zurich had seven tackles in his first NFL start last week against the Dolphins. When defensive coordinator Alan Williams was asked for a bright spot in the 35-32 loss — in which the defense allowed 28 points — he picked Sanborn.
“He looked like he belonged,” Williams said. “Didn’t have errors. Tackled well. Ran around well. You come out of that game going, ‘OK, [that was a] step forward. Now let’s taken more step forward.”
Sanborn showed his instinct for the game and ability to learn.
“There was a bounce-outside run play where Nick [Morrow] filled it and [Sanborn] was over the top and he made a good play just like we designed it,” Williams said. “Those are plays we put in our clinic tape … where you go, ‘Yeah, that’s what we wanted him to do and that’s what he did and that’s what we practiced.’
“Ultimately, you want to see that a guys sees it on tape — this is the play. You do it in practice and the it shows up in the game — there it is. You just want to see that happen on a consistent basis. I think it will.”
That’s Sanborn’s strength. “Football player,” William said. “The No. 1 job of a linebacker is to find the ball, hit the ball. And he did that. That’s a trait he is — fast trigger. He sees it well and goes and gets it.”
Sanborn said he felt “pretty good” about his performance, credited his teammates and coaches and was proud that “the moment was too big.”
Cornerback Jaylon Johnson (oblique), right guard Teven Jenkins (hip), defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad (knee) and cornerback Kindle Vildor (ankle) were limited in practice Thursday.
Johnson wasn’t too concerned his injury would impact his status for Sunday’s game against the Lions.
Battle of brothers
Bears wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown is extra motivated to beat the Lions on Sunday. He has $1,000 wager with his brother — Lions receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown — over which team will win more games this season.
“I [told him] we were going to put up at least 30 [points], so we’re going to score more than them to win the game, ” Equanimeous said.
Amon-Ra, 23, a second-year receiver from USC, is the Lions’ leading receiver this season, with 39 receptions for 399 yards and three touchdowns. Equanimeous 26, a fourth-year player from Notre Dame, has 11 receptions for 164 yards and a touchdown for the Bears.
The St. Brown brothers faced each other twice last season when Equanimeous was with the Packers.
“It is [special],” Equanimeous said. “You can’t take anything for granted, especially having a family member in the NFL. It’s a cool thing.”
Equanimeous made no excuses for his fourth-down drop against the Dolphins that sealed the Bears’ fate.
“I just dropped it,” he said. “Won’t happen again. I promise. It happens.”
NFL to Bears — “Our bad”
After the Bears submitted film to the league, the NFL told them they should not have called pass interference on Eddie Jackson in the fourth quarter Sunday. The Bears safety said it didn’t make him feel any better.
“I mean, not really — because we knew it wasn’t PI,” he said.
Contributing: Patrick Finley