As a result, Adrian Peterson will get a chance to show that last season's impressive stretch run wasn't a fluke. Thomas goes into camp as the main man, but Peterson, whose 5.1-yard average per carry was 50 percent better than Thomas' 3.4, will get a lot more touches than he did as a rookie.
In order for Kordell Stewart to play to his potential, the running game needs to improve significantly from last year, when the Bears were dead last in yards and second to last in average gain. A running game that can keep defenses honest will make the offense's transition to Stewart smoother and allow the quarterback to play within himself, which he hasn't always done in the past.
Stewart's success, and that of the running game are both tied to an offensive line that is shaky at the tackles. Mike Gandy, a guard until injuries forced him into the left tackle spot late last season, remains there to begin the new season. Marc Colombo, who showed some promise in five starts at left tackle last season, until he suffered a dislocated kneecap, starts training camp at right tackle. The original plan was to start Colombo at left tackle this season and Gandy at right tackle. But, when Colombo required follow-up surgery in early spring, it was decided the left side might be too great a task. He still may wind up there later in the season if he shows he has the footwork and quickness, or if Gandy struggles.