Injuries limit Bears flexibility

The Bears have to make trim the roster to 65 by Tuesday, which shouldn't be difficult. The challenge will be to make the final 53-man roster with two players that won't be able to contribute until at least October.

Quarterback (3): Starter -- Rex Grossman. Backups -- Jonathan Quinn, Craig Krenzel

No surprises here. Grossman will play the entire season unless he's injured or the coaching staff feels they want to bring in one of the backups in a one-sided affair.

RB: (5): Thomas Jones, Bryan Johnson, Anthony Thomas, Adrian Peterson, Jason McKie

Jones came into training camp as the starter and his preseason performance has only enhanced his status. Thomas remains the top backup, but Peterson has secured a rosters spot with his 5.0 average per carry in three exhibition games. McKie can play both tailback and fullback and will make the team because of that versatility.

Brock Forsey had a decent camp and preseason, but couldn't match the production of Peterson. Rabih Abdullah is a special teams ace, which is the only reason for keeping him around. Johnson can fill that role and makes Abdullah expendable.

Wide Receiver: (6): Starters -- David Terrell, Bobby Wade. Backups -- Justin Gage, Bernard Berrian, Ahmad Merritt, Daryl Jones.

Trading Marty Booker opened up the door for the young receivers to get a chance. The team will still carry six receivers and Jones now joins the fold at wideout because of his ability to return kicks.

Tight End (3): Starter -- Desmond Clark. Backups -- Dustin Lyman, John Gilmore.

Clark missed the bulk of camp because of a hamstring pull, as did Gilmore. Lyman has stepped up in their absence and will get a fair share of time on the field during the season.

While Gabe Reid's pass catching ability is apparent, he's too light to be an effective blocker. The team could consider keeping him, but it would come at losing Gilmore, the best blocking TE on the team.

Offensive Line (9): Starters – LT Qasim Mitchell, LG Ruben Brown, C Olin Kreutz, RG Mike Gandy, RT John Tait. Backups – T/G Aaron Gibson, T/G Steve Edwards, C/G Terrence Metcalf.

This is one of the areas the Bears are limited because they plan on keeping Rex Tucker on the roster even though he won't play until at least October. The backups can all play multiple positions, which should allow them to get by.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9): Starters -- LE Adewale Ogunleye, LT Alfonso Boone, RT Tommie Harris, RE Alex Brown. Backups – E Michael Haynes, T Bryan Robinson, T Terry Johnson, Claude Harriott, T Tron LaFavor.

This could be the hardest position to trim. Both Alain Kashama and Israel Idonije have impressed the coaching staff thus far. However the addition of Ogunleye means there's one less spot in the rotation. Harriott hasn't progressed and would be cut if he weren't a fifth-round pick. The Bears might try to sneak Kashama and Idonije on the practice squad, but that could be tough. In the end the team will have to debate keeping a draft pick or a players that have played well on the field. Ian Scott doesn't fit the new defense and will be waived.

LINEBACKERS (6): Starters -- SLB Joe Odom, MLB Brian Urlacher, WLB Lance Briggs. Backups – Marcus Reese, Hunter Hillenmeyer, Leon Joe.

The emergence of Marcus Reese means Bryan Knight will not make the team. The Bears are young at linebacker but it's generally a talented group.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (9): Starters -- CB Charles Tillman, CB R.W. McQuarters, FS Mike Brown, SS Mike Green. Backups -- S Bobby Gray, S Todd Johnson, CB Nathan Vasher, CB Todd McMillon.

Depending on how much time McQuarters will miss because of a hamstring injury the team could have two cornerbacks that can't play taking up roster spots. Jerry Azumah is out until at least October as he recovers from surgery to repair a herniated disk. Cameron Worrell appears to be the odd man out. He's played well, but it comes down to a numbers game and Johnson is a better player.

Specialists (3): LS Patrick Mannelly, K Paul Edinger, P Brad Maynard.

This group might have been the most secure throughout training camp. The Bears are happy with the trio and should be for quite some time.


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