Safety offers little security

With just days until the beginning of the training camp, Mike Green looks to fill the shoes of former Bear and current 49er Tony Parrish.

The Bears front seven on defense is one of the most respected and feared in the NFL. Chicago's secondary is a major question mark, returning just two of its four starters from last season. After having career years in 2001, Mike Brown and R.W. McQuarters will return in 2002 as the leaders of the Bear secondary.

Jerry Azumah will fill in for Walt Harris (Indianapolis via free agency) as the second cornerback. This will be Azumah's fourth year in blue and orange, and after a strong finish to last year's season, he figures to make a relatively fluid transition into the starting lineup.

Mike Green, the last pick in the 2000 NFL draft must step up for the Bears to have success defensively. Green played sparingly last year behind respected safety Tony Parrish (San Francisco via free agency), in limited action he showed flashes of brilliance. Chicago put their faith in Green, allowing Parrish to test the free agent waters, now the Bears starter is Green.

Green played well in limited time last year, but can he carry the load this year? Green is certainly undersized at 6 feet and 176 pounds, but he has the speed to cover receivers like a cornerback would. Green usually played last year in obvious passing situations, this year Green will be an everyday player; can he stop the run?

Should Green be unable to stop the run on a consistent basis, the Bears backups include Damon Moore and rookie 5th rounder Bobby Gray.

During his Bears career, Parrish was known for being able to come up and stuff the run, while occasionally delivering a lick on a receiver across the middle, this year don't expect Green to do the same. Green at just 176 pounds does not have the heft to administer a massive blow like Parrish could, and his lack of size could present a problem in his efforts to stop the likes of Marshal Faulk, Curtis Martin, and Ricky Williams.

Bears camp begins Friday July 26th.


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