Working without a Safety Net

While losing Mike Brown is a tough break, there are other members of the team that would be irreplaceable.

Brown is a playmaker, captain and a Pro Bowl caliber safety. Still the Bears have enough depth behind him to not see a significant drop in play.

In his fifth year in the league, Mike Green is coming into his own. He had just one career interception, but has picked up one in each of the team's first two games. Moving to free safety should give him even more chances to be a ball hawk.

Bobby Gray started nine games last year and challenged Green for a starting role in training camp. His physical style of play is perfect for strong safety and will make opposing receivers think twice about going up for a catch over the middle.

Todd Johnson missed his rookie campaign because of a broken jaw. However the 2003 4th round pick has the talent to be the best of trio. Secondary coach Vance Bedford has compared his abilities to that of Brown.

Looking over the roster there are players the Bears would not be able to replace if they went down with an injury.

Brian Urlacher is a four-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker. He proved the first two weeks of the year that Lovie Smith's defense takes advantage of his athleticism. Urlacher is primed for a huge year and is ready to challenge Ray Lewis for the title of best linebacker in the game.

Backing up Urlacher is Hunter Hillenmeyer, who is a good special teams performer. While he could fill in for Urlacher on a series, asking him to start on a consistent basis is a stretch.

Charles Tillman suffered a sprained right knee against Green Bay. His status is uncertain for the Week 3 trip to Minnesota. The options to replace him in the starting lineup are Todd McMillon or Nathan Vasher.

McMillon is role player and special teams ace. Vasher is a rookie with talent, but not ready for a starting role.

Randy Moss will be drooling if Tillman isn't lined up across from him on Sunday. Remember the last time the two went one-on-one. Tillman preserved a victory for the Bears by ripping a game-winning touchdown away from Moss.

Rex Grossman is the future of the franchise. Despite being in the developmental stages of his career, there would be a definite drop off if he were out of the lineup. An injury to Grossman would not only limit Terry Shea's play calling options, but take away snaps from a quarterback that has everything on his side but experience.

Olin Kreutz is the captain of the offensive line. He's responsible for adjustments at the line of scrimmage. Known as one of the best centers in the game, Kreutz has gone to three Pro Bowls. Terrence Metcalf is the 2nd string center, but he's still learning the position and is more of a guard.


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