A Look Into the Crystal Ball

The start of training camp brings many thoughts to mind, so why not lay it on the line and try to predict the 53-man roster.

Quarterback: Although the position is unproven, it's among the easiest to forecast. Rex Grossman will be given every chance to prove he can lead the offense. If anything goes wrong, Chad Hutchinson is capable of starting a stretch of games. Kyle Orton will learn from the third spot on the depth chart and make a run at the backup role next season.

Starter: Rex Grossman
Backups:
Chad Hutchinson, Kyle Orton

Running Back: No matter who starts, the running game should be strong behind the talent of Cedric Benson and Thomas Jones. The holdout could slow Benson's rise to winning the job, but not for long.

Starter: Cedric Benson
Backups:
Thomas Jones, Adrian Peterson

Fullback: The injuries are concerning, but if Bryan Johnson is healthy for Week 1 that's will be good enough to open up holes for the ground attack. Jason McKie would have challenged Johnson, if not for a torn pectoral muscle that could land him on Injured Reserve.

Starter: Bryan Johnson
Backup:
Marc Edwards

Wide Receiver: Muhsin Muhammad has his job locked up, while the honor to start opposite of him remains up in the air. Justin Gage and Bernard Berrian will battle in Bourbonnais with the speedier option coming out on top. The Bears have a lot of young talent available, which may land Airese Currie on IR, if his foot doesn't heal quickly.

Starters: Muhsin Muhammad, Bernard Berrian
Backups:
Justin Gage, Bobby Wade, Mark Bradley

Tight End: Desmond Clark is the best the Bears have and that will make him the starter by default. Dustin Lyman and John Gilmore are not capable of being every down players.

Starter: Desmond Clark
Backups:
Dustin Lyman, John Gilmore

Offensive Line: The unit is better than a year ago and thus deeper. Former starters are now backups and the unit that surrendered 66 sacks a year ago will be a distant memory.

Starters: LT John Tait, LG Ruben Brown, C Olin Kreutz, RG Terrence Metcalf, RT Fred Miller
Backups:
G/T Steve Edwards, G/T Qasim Mitchell, C/G Roberto Garza, T Rob Droege

Defensive Line: The Bears are looking for more sacks from the front four. Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye are capable of each reaching double-digits. All signs point to Tommie Harris becoming a Pro Bowl caliber defensive tackle. While Terry Johnson could challenge Ian Scott for a starting role, it will not come without a fight.

Starters: RE Alex Brown, DT Tommie Harris, NT Ian Scott, LE Adewale Ogunleye
Backups:
DE Michael Haynes, DE Alain Kashama, DT Alfonso Boone, DT Terry Johnson, DL Israel Idonije

Linebacker: Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are a great duo. The strong side job is coming into focus with Hunter Hillenmeyer. The job is not his yet, but it will by the end of camp.

Starters: WLB Lance Briggs, MLB Brian Urlacher, SLB Hunter Hillenmeyer
Backups:
Marcus Reese, Joe Odom, LeVar Woods

Cornerback: The depth at the top three is solid, but an injury could quickly turn this unit into a question mark. Jerry Azumah and Charles Tillman are healthy after both fighting injuries last season. Nathan Vasher led the team in interceptions as a rookie and steps into the nickel role.

Starters: Jerry Azumah, Charles Tillman
Backups:
Nathan Vasher, Alfonso Marshall, Todd McMillon

Safeties: The two Mike's give the Bears stability in the secondary. Mike Green moves to free safety and needs to pickup his interception totals to justify staying on the field. Mike Brown has the aggressive nature in his play to be an elite strong safety. There is also starting experience behind Green and Brown, which makes this position among the deepest on the team.

Starters: FS Mike Green, SS Mike Brown
Backups:
Todd Johnson, Bobby Gray, Chris Harris

Specialists: Doug Brien takes over for Paul Edinger and is expected to be an upgrade over what the team has had from the kicking game the past two seasons. Brad Maynard and Patrick Mannelly are both among the best at their positions.

Kicker: Doug Brien
Punter:
Brad Maynard
Long snapper:
Patrick Mannelly

There are not going to be a lot of surprises this training camp, but among the veterans on the bubble are T Marc Colombo and WR Eddie Berlin. Defensively seventh round pick LB Rod Wilson may end up on the practice squad. After two years with the team as an undrafted free agent, Cameron Worrell appears to be on the outside looking in.


Bear Report Top Stories