Frontline woes

Two years ago, the Bears started the same five offensive linemen the entire season. Only departed James "Big Cat" Williams repeated the feat last season. Now the depth in the trenches is in question again.

Marc Colombo's second opinion concurred with what Bears doctors had told the tackle. However, his playing status is still uncertain. The more time passes it looks to be headed for the Physically Unable to Perform List, which would make him ineligible to play until after Week 6.

"We'll have to see," said head coach Dick Jauron. "I'm certain that it could go either way. We'll have to make a determination as we go along here."

The decision will have to be made soon as roster have to be trimmed to 53 players by Sunday.

If the team starts the season without Colombo's services the addition of a veteran tackle will take priority. Help could come in the form of a waiver wire transaction.

"As we've said all along at any position we would look at anybody we thought could upgrade us at any position. And the offensive line is no different," Jauron said. "The only difference at this point is that because of the situation with Marc and Terrence (Metcalf) we are slim. We are light in the backup roles there."

Metcalf is likely to miss the start of the regular season because of a broken middle finger he suffered in the team's second preseason game, but should return by Week 2.

Beside the five starters on the offensive line the Bears usually carry two back-ups on game day, a swing tackle and an interior player. Colombo and Metcalf fit those roles, but in the meantime look for Bernard Robertson and Steve Edwards to bridge the gap.

Robertson can play all five positions on the line, while Edwards has spent time at both right and left tackle during the preseason.

UP FOR GRABS
There are still several roster spots that have yet to be decided, maybe even a starting role according to Jauron.

"I wouldn't say they're all secure. They're all insecure. They're still competing. Guys are still competing. I would hate to say everything was secure and then go in and decide we're not going to start this guy we're going to start somebody else. So I would say it's open, as I feel they always are. And obviously at some positions more than others."

The battle between Bryan Knight and Lance Briggs at starting strong-side linebacker is one of the closer competitions.

Briggs had two great games to open the preseason campaign, but took a step back at Arizona.

After missing a game because of a knee sprain, Knight started against the Cardinals. His performance didn't deserve rave reviews, but he is more consistent than his rookie understudy.

The decision will likely come down to experience. Unless Briggs has a great game in the preseason final eat New England, the coaching staff would lean toward Knight, for now.


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