Who will the Bears break camp with?

With training camp nearly here it's time to make the first of many predictions. From Rex Grossman to Qasim Mitchell, a breakdown of each offensive position and who will make the 53-man roster?

QB (3): Rex Grossman, Jonathan Quinn, Craig Krenzel
Grossman is obviously going to be the starter, win or lose. His development is the biggest key to future success and the Bears have to find out if he'll be the man to lead the offense.

Quinn hasn't thrown a pass since 2001, but he knows the offense and will step in if Grossman goes down or has an off day. Krenzel will make the roster as the emergency QB and will most likely remain inactive for the entire season. Ryan Dinwiddie could push Krenzel for a roster spot, but is more likely to be a practice squad candidate.

RB: (5): Thomas Jones, Bryan Johnson, Anthony Thomas, Brock Forsey, Rabih Abdullah.
The starting backfield has been overhauled during the off-season. Jones will follow new lead blocker Johnson. Thomas is the backup and will give the Bears a powerful option off the bench. Forsey showed the ability to catch the ball as a rookie and that gives him the edge over Adrian Peterson, who hasn't shown enough progress to warrant a roster spot. Abdullah gets the final opening because he is a special teams ace.

WR: (6): Marty Booker, David Terrell, Justin Gage, Bernard Berrian, Bobby Wade, Ahmad Merritt.
Marty Booker is still the only veteran receiver and is clearly the most reliable target for Grossman. David Terrell finally gets a chance to start and better prove he's worthy of the role because Gage isn't far behind. Berrian is the fastest receiver on the team and as his knowledge of the offense increases so will his playing time. Wade proved to be a third down option last season and in Terry Shea's offense will be more of a weapon. There's no guarantee Merritt will make the roster, but the fact that he is solid on kick coverage gives him a leg up on the competition.

TE (3): Desmond Clark, Dustin Lyman, John Gilmore
Clark keeps his status atop the depth chart, but is clearly not the downfield threat that Shea is used to at tight end. While Dustin Lyman won't put a scare into opposing defenses, when healthy he's the most athletic option of the team. John Gilmore has decent hands and is the best blocker of the trio, so he'll definitely play.

OL (10): John Tait, Rex Tucker, Olin Kreutz, Ruben Brown, Aaron Gibson, Qasim Mitchell, Steve Edwards, Terrence Metcalf, Mike Gandy.
Jerry Angelo spent the bulk of the Bears excess cap room on improving the offensive line. John Tait ate up the bulk of the cash signing a $33 million deal to be the team's right tackle. However that kind of coin is reserved for those who protect the quarterback's blindside, which is were Tait should start the season. The Qasim Mitchell experiment is a risky proposition coupled with Grossman's inexperience. The Bears can start Gibson at right tackle as he started all 16 games there last season and slide Tait over to the left side.

Tucker returns after missing the last 27 regular season games. Still the team expects him to return to form and be a Pro Bowl caliber guard. Kreutz remains one of the best centers in the game and will go for his fourth straight trip to Hawaii. Brown is the elder statesman of the group and solidifies the right side.

The depth of the line is in complete contrast to the situation the Bears faced in '03. Steve Edwards and Mike Gandy go from starters to backups and both can play multiple positions. Metcalf has spent time at guard and tackle, but will now be Kreutz's backup. Mitchell will move from the starting lineup to swing tackle.

LS (1): Patrick Mannelly
Mannelly is considered one of the best long snappers in football. The Bears have no intention of trying to find a cheaper replacement.

K (1): Paul Edinger
Despite Edinger's second half slump, he's the placekicker and anyone else in camp is just there for window dressing. Dealing with the different wind tunnels in the renovated Soldier Field compared to the old stadium could have also played a role in him converting 26/36 attempts. The lack of depth on his kickoffs will always be a concern, but he still has the highest field goal conversion rate in team history at 78%.

Tomorrow Bear Report will examine which defensive players are likely to make the 53-man roster.


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