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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

126 comments
MIB Baby Bird Whisperer
MIB Baby Bird Whisperer

" 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

ʍɔɐl
ʍɔɐl

Bears truly do rely on the "Hope we go injury-less" approach. 

bp.
bp.

I too am making the trek from the workplace to the home front. ADIOS

bp.
bp.

I misremembered a thing: the SC actually held the search of the school girl was illegal.  The Federal Circuit Court upheld the search, before the full panel struck it down.  Then the SC upheld the full panel's decision.


Bottom line: the last two courts got this right.

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-201_162-5112597.html

bp.
bp.

The gifs killed the page.

Big Deal
Big Deal

The Bears have great depth. All of their backups are just as meh as their starters.

Mods Suck
Mods Suck

I am curious to hear the author flesh out the statement that weakside linebacker is a plug-and-play position.

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

"although I never knowingly took a performance enhancing drug I take full responsibility for what goes in my body"

Does anyone else see the problem with this statement?