A Preview Of the Bears Upcoming Training Camp

5-12-13

 

The Bears during one of their OTA sessions at Halas Hall.

 

The 2013 Chicago Bears have recently wrapped up their offseason program. They are now in hibernation until training camp begins. Once the activities at Olivet Nazerene do get underway, there will be some position battles at stake. Even though there was no contact or hitting during the spring, there was enough work done to evaluate the talent that will be on the field this year.

Here are some of the positions worth watching this summer:

1. Offensive Line

This is the most important position to watch because it is the position that the Bears are trying to rebuild. Over the last couple of seasons, Jay Cutler has taken a lot of hits, sacks and has been abused by opposing defenses. There are currently 13 offensive lineman on the current roster, only eight or nine of these men will actually make the active roster.

When you consider that the Bears are making it a priority to protect Cutler this year, nothing is set in stone for the moment. It will take the entire preseason to choose who makes the 53-man roster.

2. Wide Receiver

We all know that Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery will more than likely be the starters again with Earl Bennett as the No. 3 guy. From there, the rest of the depth chart is a toss up.  Joe Anderson, Devin Aromashodu, Brittan Golden, Jerrell Jackson, Josh Lenz, Marcus Rucker, Terrence Tolliver, Eric Weems and Marquess Wilson will be fighting for the other three spots on the opening day roster.

Weems and Aromashodu have a heads up on everyone else for two reasons..... Weems can contribute on special teams while Aromashodu is entering his second tenure as a Bear. This will be the hardest fought position battle during camp.

3. Running Back

Matt Forte will start with Michael Bush right behind him. But the third spot on the depth chart will be the one to watch. Armando Allen is the incumbent but rookie Michael Ford has been right on his tail. Ford has shown that he is faster than Allen at times and he has showcased his ability to lend assistance in the special teams department as well. Ford also appears to be a more formidable receiver than Allen so far.

4. Backup Tight End

After Martellus Bennett, there are five men vying for the remaining two or three slots on the season roster. Kyle Adams has been with the Bears since 2011 but has been largely ineffective. Gabe Miller is entering his second year in a Bears uniform but he also has yet to make his presence felt. Behind them are the inexperienced Fendi Onobun, Steve Maneri and Brody Eldridge.

Bennett can't do it all by himself so he will need a solid backup to support him. Since the Bears didn't draft a tight end, they will have to make due with the players they do have.

5. Linebacker

Lance Briggs has already solidified himself as a starter and he will call the defensive huddles this year. But the weak side and middle linebacker positions are still to be determined. Veterans D.J. Williams and James Anderson are the front runners as they lined up with the first team defense during mini-camps.

On the other hand, rookies Jon Bostic and Khasseem Greene have been making quite the impression on the Bears' coaching staff. This contest will be one to watch over the next couple of months.

6. Fullback

With Evan Rodriguez out of the picture, this position became up for grabs. When Rodriguez was released, Bears general manager Phil Emery signed Tony Fiammetta right away. Expect him to compete with Harvey Unga for the job. Unga has been with the Bears off-and-on since 2010. He's either been on the active roster, practice squad or one of the reserve lists.

When he does get playing time, he's usually seen in the fullback spot because of his 240-pound frame. With Unga's ever changing roster status and the new edition of Fiammetta, this spot will be interesting to look at.

7. Safety

There are eight players on the 90-man roster at this position. Chris Conte and Major Wright will be the starters barring any unforeseen circumstances. Behind them it will be quite the competition. It must be noted that Brandon Hardin has returned from last season's neck injury, while Craig Steltz is still around and Tom Zibikowski will also make his presence felt.

8. Punter

Believe it or not, the punters job is not set in stone this year. The production of Adam Podlesh has declined slightly since his hip flexor injury. While Podlesh is guaranteed his salary this year, the Bears front office decided to spice things up by bringing rookie Tress Way. This is just a test to see how Podlesh handles adversity.

If he's not careful though, the rookie could take his job.

For those of you who read The Locker Room, I have a favor to ask all of you. I am participating in Lakeshore Public Television's "Sportscaster for a Day" contest. The grand prize is the chance to anchor the evening sportscast on "Lakeshore News Tonight". In order to win this competition, I need to win the most votes on Facebook.

Go the contest page here, scroll down for the post with my name {Gabe Salgado} on it and click the like button. Voting ends on June 26th, thank you for your support.

Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82

 

 

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    Gabe Salgado

    Aside my columns for The Locker Room, I also write for many other outlets, and you can hear me on the radio. I co-host "The Sports Cypher" on WVON-AM every Sunday night from 9pm-11pm. You can also hear me every week on sportstownchicago.com. Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82

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