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Roster Depth: Chicago Bears

It's not likely that the Chicago Bears offense would be able to keep up its accustomed level of output with backup quarterback Josh McCown at the helm.

It’s not likely that the Chicago Bears offense would be able to keep up its accustomed level of output with backup quarterback Josh McCown at the helm.

Depth is important. Whether we like it or not, injuries happen — and when they do somebody needs to step up, because NFL opponents offer no quarter and every game is important.

In this four-part series, we are taking a look at each team in the NFC North, noting where they could be strong with depth and where they have weaknesses. Previously we probed the Detroit Lions and scoped the Minnesota Vikings. Today the Chicago Bears are on the slab as we glove up and see what lies beneath.

Quarterback

Behind starter Jay Cutler are veteran Josh McCown and second-year player Matt Blanchard, who went undrafted last year. McCown is an average backup, but long term, the Bears would be in trouble if Cutler went down, just as they were Jason Campbell and Caleb Hanie at the helm.

Diagnosis: Poor depth

Running back

Michael Bush is a very good backup for starter Matt Forte. He has plenty of experience in this league and if necessary, can carry the load himself. Moreover, he is good in the red zone and a decent receiver as well. Behind him, Armando Allen has a little experience but is nothing more than an average third stringer.

Diagnosis: Solid depth

Wide receiver

If No. 1 receiver Brandon Marshall were lost, Alshon Jeffery, a solid No. 2 receiver, and Earl Bennett, a slot receiver, could probably handle the load together. Nevertheless, each represents a significant step down from Marshall. On the other hand, in the absence of Jeffery, Bennett could step in for him at the No. 2 slot. Unfortunately, that means there is little proven depth in the slot between Eric Weems and rookie seventh-round pick Marquess Wilson. Devin Hester is out of the equation, as he seems to have made the full time move to returner.

Diagnosis: Poor depth at No. 1 and slot receiver; solid depth at No. 2 receiver

Tight end

There isn’t much behind starting tight end Martellus Bennett. Steve Maneri, Gabe Miller, and Fendi Onobun probably won’t get it done if he can’t answer the bell.

Diagnosis: Poor depth

Offensive tackle

Chicago’s poor offensive line has been the laughingstock of the league for years. This year they finally appear to be deep at left tackle with JaMarcus Webb backing up presumptive starter Jermon Bushrod. As the starting right tackle, Webb will be backed up by Gabe Carimi and Jonathan Scott. James Brown and rookie Jordan Mills also have a chance to make the roster. Eben Britton, who has experience at right tackle, could play guard.

Diagnosis: Solid depth

Chicago Bears center Roberto Garza is on an island with no one to back him up.

Chicago Bears center Roberto Garza is on an island with no one to back him up.

Guard/Center

Gabe Carimi will back up Matt Slausen at left guard. Edwin Williams has some experience and Eben Britton could play guard behind Slausen and Kyle Long. There is no one behind center Roberto Garza at this time.

Diagnosis: Good depth at guard; no depth at center

Defensive end

At left end, Corey Wootton will back up Shea McClellin, taken in the first round last year. There is no one to step in behind Julius Peppers at right end, although Turk McBride and Kyle Moore do have some experience in the league. Without Peppers, the pass rush would be in trouble.

Diagnosis: Good depth at left end; poor depth at right end

Defensive tackle

Nate Collins doesn’t offer much behind starters Henry Melton and Stephen Paea.

Diagnosis: Poor depth

Linebacker

Rookie second-round pick Jon Bostic will back up veteran D.J. Williams at inside linebacker. His lack of experience shouldn’t be an issue, since linebacker is a position at which young players can have success early.

At outside linebacker, James Anderson will be backed up by fourth-round pick Khaseem Greene.

If Lance Briggs were lost, the defense could be in trouble, but fortunately, weakside linebacker is a plug-and-play position in the 4-3 defense. Dom DeCicco and Blake Costanzo offer more special teams value, so Greene would be the next man up if Briggs went down.

Diagnosis: Talented rookies; overall, unknown depth

Cornerback

This defense will rely heavily on No. 1 cornerback Charles Tillman. Tim Jennings is a good No. 2 cornerback, but it would be tough for him to handle Tillman’s role. Nickel back Kelvin Hayden is a good option, and veteran Zack Bowman is decent at the No. 4 spot.

Diagnosis: Poor depth at No. 1 CB; decent depth at No. 2 CB and nickel

Safety

Tom Zbikowski and second-year players Brandon Hardin are quality players behind starters Chris Conte and Major Wright. Craig Steltz and Anthony Walters also bring experience to the table.

Diagnosis: Solid depth

128 comments
MIBearFan
MIBearFan

 The Fake ESPN

What does "Lebron James fouled out" mean?

-Miami Heat fans

MIBearFan
MIBearFan

Justin Bieber driving a Ferrari is like Liberace dressing up as Chuck Norris.

MIBearFan
MIBearFan

" I'm not prepared to assign blame and explain why the Packers have underperformed to such a degree in this category [fumble recovery]. With that said, it provides further grist to the crowd that believes the Packers haven't been tough enough, especially on defense, under McCarthy." -Kevin Seifert

I love how Kevin starts out with a disclaimer, before he takes a shot at the Pack.

Koosh12684
Koosh12684

Horton: "The Bears will pass block from 'inside-out,' which is somewhat unique as they try to eliminate inside pressure and blitzes by having strong play from their guards and centers and not always 'fanning' outside to pick up the edge blitz. It is a scheme that served Kromer well with Drew Brees in New Orleans and, if successful, it will allow [Jay] Cutler to step up into the pocket and stay inside his protection, rather than being flushed like he has so often in recent years."

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I could see Cutler needing to grow into trusting his linemen before hes really comfortable stepping up in that pocket.

Koosh12684
Koosh12684

lol, LKP did the bears depth chart.  Don't have time to read it, but I wonder if he gets back at Woude for ranking the lions almost last in everything....

natesweet
natesweet moderator

where the fuck is all the people at?

bp.
bp.

ok.  Bed time.  Have a good one Nourkivel.

bp.
bp.

Wifey insists on having a compost pile.  As we have a small yard, this guarantees the transfer of mice into my house. I am thinking of getting a weasel, since she is very allergic to cats.  Google won't confirm that this will work tho.  And my dogs would probably kill it.

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

i have a hunch the tackling on the Packers this year is going to slide downward even further 

bp.
bp.

Rourke, are you out there?

LKP
LKP

Lions signed  QB Thaddeus Lewis. Boombaya watching his start last year I like him so much more than Kellen Moore. Good arm and mobile. 3rd QB, yes please

MIBearFan
MIBearFan

@J. Walter Weatherman 

I think the idea is to run more of a West coast style offense, and get the ball out before he needs to worry about that.

MIBearFan
MIBearFan

@J. Walter Weatherman  

Nope he was pretty fair about it. The issue I have with evaluating depth, is that behind the starters, most of the backups are young and unknown. Depth isn't something you can really judge until players are forced to step up.

natesweet
natesweet moderator

How do ya like that English?

 ЯD
ЯD

I think, based on that brief (to use the term loosely), I was half-right in what I said earlier, and that it would largely depend on the judge before whom the case was argued. I think one could make a decent argument either way about whether administrative actions fall under the protection of the Fifth Amendment.

natesweet
natesweet moderator

@___bp___ Compost pile does not automatically mean mice from my experience. But aside form that you can not count on any domesticated animal being a good mouser. Domesticated animals often lack the instincts to be good mousers.

 ЯD
ЯD

Why would you choose a weasel over a ferret?

 ЯD
ЯD

@___bp___ Is that what they call transacting purple drank deals these days?

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@Aciddragon  I have a hunch that you're mistaken.  According to Football Outsiders Green Bay's defense allowed broken tackles at about the same rate as the 49ers, tied for second best in the league.

bp.
bp.

@Nonstopdrivel Seems clear to me - and the reasoning also seems sound - that it would apply to any proceeding whatsoever where you may, by providing testimony, incriminate yourself.  No reason an administrative hearing should be exempt.  But that also does not mean that you are free to do so without losing at the administrative level.  I will check Westlaw.

 ✔

@Nonstopdrivel @___bp___

@jasonjwilde 5h

I don't know what will happen to @JJolly97's #NFL career, but it's clear the people around #Packers truly care about his recovery.

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

@___bp___ well they are emphasizing creating fumbles in  the OTAs, which tells me we are going to see a lot of guys going for the strip instead of the tackle 

bp.
bp.

@Nonstopdrivel @___bp___ Nothing important.  Minor wound caused by a sliver that appears to have gotten infected.  I was going to ask your expert opinion on opening the bitch up to clean it out.

bp.
bp.

@Nonstopdrivel @___bp___ Depends on the breadth courts provide to the term "proceeding."  I can look that up, but I won't.  Because instead I am going to bed in 20.3 basketball seconds.

 ЯD
ЯD

@___bp___ Maness v. Meyers, 419 U.S. 449, 464, 95 S.Ct. 584, 594, 42 L.Ed.2d 574, 587 (1975) holds that the Fifth Amendment may be asserted in any proceeding, civil or criminal, administrative or judicial, investigatory or adjudicatory. But in context, like I said earlier, it refers specifically to statements that could later lead to criminal prosecution. So it just doesn't apply in this case.

Nor does it apply to the students, in my opinion, if they are simply facing a meeting with the school counselor. If there were a real chance that they could be charged by the police for their answers, though, it would seem to me that the Fifth does apply.

Reading about this stuff is interesting. No wonder you guys like your job.

bp.
bp.

@Nonstopdrivel Ah.  Got you.  Yeah, the use of the word "criminal" makes it pretty clear.  I do not believe, upon reading the linked article, that the teacher stand a chance in hell.

 ЯD
ЯD

Clearly, if the testimony you give could lead to a criminal proceeding, then the Fifth Amendment would apply. But in cases where there is no possible criminal charge -- such as the case of the teacher, which seems to me purely an administrative affair -- I am not so sure. I mean, sure, you could decline to answer questions, but I am not convinced you would have grounds to sue to get your job back if they terminate you or take other disciplinary action.

Basically: I think this guy is going to lose, unless the district bows to public pressure.

 ЯD
ЯD

@Mr._Horse It always grieves me when I see someone throw away a promising career over a case of terminal stupidity or addiction. The Packers were more than willing to support him if only he had had the foresight and self-control not to go back to his Houston buddies. I think they have been more than gracious with him.

 ЯD
ЯD

@Mr._Horse I have nothing against Jolly personally, but I am skeptical that he will ever make an impact on the field again.

bp.
bp.

@Nonstopdrivel @___bp___ Fucking thing is a hard little knot, but the sliver hole still allows me to squeeze out puss.  It is possible that I am causing symptoms for myself by worrying at it.

 ЯD
ЯD

@___bp___ Since I no longer have easy access to a variety of scalpels, what I typically do is sterilize a sewing needle in a flame and then gently puncture the wound just enough to let out the pus and release the pressure. You don't necessarily have to do that, though, unless it's collected enough under the skin that it is causing you pain or you are starting to see a) warmth or b) red streaks running up your hand.

bp.
bp.

@Aciddragon  @___bp___ Same with Lewis tho.  Both will really have to be on top of their clipboard holding game.

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

@___bp___ BJ Coleman would have to make the roster in order to hold said clipboard