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Willie Young’s confidence grows after first game at linebacker

It was only 11 plays, but every one of them against the Colts in Saturday’s exhibition was important for end-turned-outside-linebacker Willie Young.

“It’s just a matter of getting the reps, which I’m getting now,” Young said Tuesday after practice at Halas Hall. “It’s all good. Things are taking care of itself for the most part.”

Those are reps in pass coverage and rushing from different angles. All of it is valuable as he works his way back from a torn Achilles tendon.

Coach John Fox said Young’s workload will increase against the Bengals and that he expects him to be fully ready by Week 1.

Still, everything remains “brand new” at outside linebacker, said Young, who is playing more with the second-team defense.

“It’s just working back into it, just taking my time,” said Young, who added he wasn’t concerned about his surgically repaired tendon in his first game since suffering his injury Dec. 21 against the Lions.

“It’s not rushing back, but knowing that time is precious right now. I’m just trying to be ready as soon as possible.”

Learning and understanding route concepts has been tedious.

“I get a kick out of it actually, being in the secondary with some of the guys,” Young said.” The key in being in the secondary is knowing exactly where your help is. If you know where your help is, your life is that much easier.”

Young, who led the Bears with 10 sacks last season, still thinks like a pass rusher.

“I don’t find anything about chasing a running back fun,” Young said. “I find something about smashing quarterbacks fun.”

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Email: ajahns@suntimes.com