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Chicago Bears 2013 training camp primer: Key position battles

Can defensive end Shea McClellin fight through the competition to earn a starting job opposite Julius Peppers?

Can defensive end Shea McClellin fight through the competition to earn a starting job opposite Julius Peppers?

 

Rejoice, WCSN brethren!  The long offseason is almost over, and actual football activities are back upon us!  Before the real games begin in September, or even the preseason games in August, we have training camp to look forward to.

This is the second in a three-part series previewing the Chicago Bears as they begin their official preparations for the 2013 NFL season with training camp, which opens in Bourbannais on July 25 (for those interested in checking it out, here is a link to their practice schedule).  In part one, we looked at the key questions facing the Bears.  Today we will be focusing on position battles that will be played out in camp and the preseason.

Position battles

Can rookie Kyle Long win the starting right guard spot in camp?

Can rookie Kyle Long win the starting right guard spot in camp?

Right guard: James Brown vs. Kyle Long

The Chicago Bears drafted Kyle Long with the 20th pick of the 2013 NFL draft, and general manager Phil Emery stated that night that he expected Long to be a starter from day one. However, Long was forced to miss most of the offseason activities because he was still in college, offering an opportunity to someone else to practice with the first team.

Second-year man James Brown took that opportunity and ran with it, and now we have a battle between two young players who could both find themselves starters in 2014.

Right tackle: J’Marcus Webb vs. Jordan Mills

A few months ago, this battle would likely have been ignored or possibly listed as Webb against Jonathan Scott.  Instead, the Chicago Bears drafted Mills in the fifth round, and he generated a lot of buzz in OTAs.

It still seems like a long shot that Mills beats Webb out this year, but a new coaching staff with no ties to the incumbent Webb certainly doesn’t hurt Mills chances.  Regardless, Mills seems to have made Webb, a free agent after the season, expendable in the future unless he can show significant improvement.

Rookie Marquess Wilson is one of several wide receivers fighting for playing time.

Rookie Marquess Wilson is one of several wide receivers fighting for playing time.

Wide Receiver #4: Joe Anderson vs. Devin Aromashodu vs. Marquess Wilson vs. Eric Weems

Normally the fourth wide receiver is not viewed as a huge deal, but the lack of a competent one really hurt the Chicago Bears last year when second and third receivers Alshon Jeffery and Earl Bennett both got hurt.

The team needs to make sure they are more prepared in the event of injuries this year, and they have some young talent in camp that needs to prove itself. Devin Aromashodu has the most experience here but has never reached 500 yards in a season in his five-year career. Joe Anderson and Marquess Wilson are both extremely young, while Eric Weems (26 receptions in five years) is mostly a special teams player.

The Bears desperately need one or two of these men to emerge in camp as at least a competent receiver.

Left defensive end: Corey Wootton vs. Shea McClellin

Shea McClellin was drafted in the first round in 2012 to fill this role, but then Corey Wootton had a breakthrough year instead.  Wootton will be the favorite to win the job, but expect McClellin to get the nod if it’s close, as McClellin was drafted by general manager Phil Emery, while Wootton was brought in by former general manager Jerry Angelo.  Regardless of who starts, the Chicago Bears will be counting on both players to produce this year in the wake of Israel Idonije’s departure.

Rookie linebacker Jon Bostic hopes to earn a starting job in the middle of the defense.

Rookie linebacker Jon Bostic hopes to earn a starting job in the middle of the defense.

Middle and strongside linebacker: D.J. Williams vs. James Anderson vs. Jon Bostic vs. Khaseem Greene

D.J. Williams and James Anderson are veterans with copious amounts of starting experience who were brought in this offseason to man the jobs vacated by Brian Urlacher and Nick Roach. Phil Emery used the draft to give them competition, however, when they acquired Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene.

Williams and Anderson are the favorites, but don’t be surprised if one or both of the rookies steals a job in camp. Bostic in particular reportedly looked good in minicamps and could win the middle linebacker job, moving Williams to the strong side.

Wrapping up

These are the main positions expected to be up for grabs in training camp and the preseason, and how these battles play out will go a long way towards determining the 2013 outlook for the Chicago Bears.  If players are able to step up and grab the job with solid performances, the roster will be left with very few weaknesses.

On the other hand, things could go poorly: coaches could fail to find an option they like, forcing them to choose between the lesser of two evils and hope that player doesn’t hurt them too badly.  Watching the competitors at each of these spots should be an area of emphasis for curious fans at camp and in preseason games.

2933 comments
LaCW
LaCW

Starting QBs in 2010 that are still have the spot locked up week 1:

Rodgers, Stafford, Cutler, E. Manning, T. Romo, Ryan, Brees, Freeman, Bradford, Palmer. NFC 10/16

Schaub, Rivers, Smith, Manning, Brady, Big Ben, Flacco: AFC 7/16

So 17/32 Starting QBs in 2010 are still looked at as starters in 2013 and only 10 look to be safe after the season is over. 

BearsSaveLives
BearsSaveLives moderator

Is TMonson here, or anyone that can post articles? I wouldn't have written it if it wasn't actually going to get posted.

The Real CJammin
The Real CJammin

Brady > Montana.

Montana had receivers who were already good.  Brady made Deion Branch and Wes Welker.  They were both mediocre at best before they came to NE.  And again, Brady has an amazing, luscious mane of golden brown hair.

falconsriseup19
falconsriseup19

ok, morning news articles need to come out. or they wont be news anymore

JVince 11
JVince 11

my god this place is slow now with all of these new "guests"

The Real CJammin
The Real CJammin

Brady best QB of all time.  90% because of his play, 10% because of his hair.

Childerz...
Childerz...

@JVince 11 Why are you complaining about us increasign our membership? Or did you just think this was a NFCN Good Ol' Boys club that we didnt' ever want to expand upon? 

Andylet445
Andylet445

@Fucko The Clown sitting on the bench with a towel over your head by yourself because you are losing is not a good language to speak. 

Evil Donkey
Evil Donkey moderator

@Fucko The Clown He is a privileged athlete. Therefore, predisposed to thinking he is better than people.

Evil Donkey
Evil Donkey moderator

@_MKE_ @EvilDonkey-R.H.I.T.Delmonico, a sixth-round draft pick in 2011, was hitting .244 in 60 games for Class A Frederick. He hit .249 in 95 games for Class A Delmarva last season.

other than that, not a guy that was on my radar.