The release of the Bears depth chart last week sets in motion who Marc Trestman expects to get the majority of the snaps moving forward. Many of the positions are in flux however. Specifically at Left Defensive End and Right Guard. Corey Wooten and 2012 first round pick Shea McClellin are listed as the co-starters at LDE and 2013 first round pick Kyle Long and James Brown are listed as the co-starters at RG. Wooten and Long have to be the favorites to man those positions, with McClellin and Long pushing furiously was a starting spot.
With a new regime in many of the positions could be open for spots. Five positions seem particularly vulnerable.
KOR Devin Hester, 1st team Eric Weems second team.
Hester is without a doubt one of, if not the greatest return man in NFL History. The majority of his greatness as a return man has been on punt returns. Twelve of his 17 career return touchdowns have come on punt returns. Weems career average of 24.8 yards per return outpaces Hester's 23.9. Both players have gone to the pro bowl in recent years. Danieal Manning and Johnny Knox have both supplanted Hester in recent years on kick returns. Manning led the NFL in kickoff return average in 2008 and Knox went to the pro bowl after the 2009 season.
SLB James Anderson first team, Jonathan Bostic, (backup Middle Linebacker) and Khaseem Greene (backup weakside linebacker)
Both Bostic and Greene had impressive opening games in the preseason opener. Bostic is unlikely to supplant D.J. Williams at MLB unless his hamstring injury lingers.
Bostic's big play ability and Greene was a two time Big East Defensive player of the year that can become a stalwart for the Bears. His biggest play of the night was tackling Carolina's DeAngelo Williams two yards deep in the backfield with the Panthers near the Bears goal line.
Bostic finished with two tackles and a 51 yard interception return for a touchdown and Greene had two tackles and two assists. Anderson had an assist. Anderson has had a solid NFL career. He started for portions and the majority of the last four seasons with the Panthers. He had 98 tackles in 2011 and 2012 before falling to 28 last season.
Bostic is listed as an MLB and he'll stay until D.J. Williams returns from a hamstring injury. He is the likely eventual heir apparent to Brian Urlacher in the middle. If the Bears brass wants to get Bostic on the field, their is precedence with moving an inside LB outside. Lance Briggs was a middle linebacker in college at Arizona. He has been a seven time pro bowler as an outside backer for the Bears.
Right Tackle J'Marcus Webb, Jonathan Scott (Backup LT) or Eben Britton backup RT
Webb has started in 44 out of 46 career NFL games including all 32 the last two seasons. He was a right tackle as a rookie in 2010 and switched to left tackle the last two seasons. The signing of Jermon Bushrod moved Webb back to the right side. He allowed one sack of Jay Cutler in the opener. His inconsistency has Marc Trestman concerned "He hasn't been as consistent as we’d like and we've told him that”
Britton started all 15 games he played in as a rookie in Jacksonville in 2010, but was plagued by injuries the next two seasons. He rebounded a bit in 2012 and comes to the Bears with a second chance to prove himself as a viable NFL starter.
Like Britton, Scott is 6'6 310 and looking for another chance to become an NFL starter. He started 35 or 70 games in six NFL seasons with Detroit, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and the Bears. He was a starter on Texas' 2005 National Championship team.
After the loss at Carolina, the Bears have promoted rookie OT Jordan Mills to take Webb's spot. He is unlikely to keep that spot. If Kyle Long earns the starting RG spot, than that would put two rookies on the right side of the line. This is the position to watch going forward.
RG James Brown and Kyle Long Co Starters
Brown started the final three games of the 2012 season. He has to be considered the starter for now. An undrafted free agent out of Troy last season, it won't be a good sign if Long doesn't emerge as the starter when the season begins. The Bears have failed with their recent first round picks on the offensive line.
Long is the Bears third first round draft pick on the offensive line in the last six seasons. With the complete failures of Chris Williams and Gabe Carimi, Long has to have a long and productive career with the Bears.
LDE Corey Wooten C0-Starter Shea McClellin
Wooten had strong 2012 season with six sacks. He started seven of the 16 games last year and he and McClellin are listed as the co-starters.
Wooten was a fourth round pick out of Northwestern in 2010. He was drafted under the Angelo regime. He finished last season with 27 tackles and seven sacks.
It has been well documented in any sport that new management likes to bring in their own guys. This could be the most likely position to evolve into a true timeshare.
McClellin was the first draft pick of the Emery era. He has excellent speed off the edge. The Bears have to be expecting bigger things out of him in 2013. He posted just seven tackles and 2.5 sacks last year.
Wooten has more size at 6-6, while McClellin gives them more speed on the edge. Wooten could see more playing time on early downs, while McClellin on later downs.
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