Chicago Bears: Depth at Safety a Major Concern 2 Weeks Before Season Opener

Brett SoleskyCorrespondent IAugust 21, 2012

Anthony Walters
Anthony WaltersJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears lost both free safeties for the foreseeable future to injuries in the game against the Redskins.  Safety Chris Conte went down first with a possible separated shoulder, and Brandon Hardin suffered what could be a season-ending neck injury. 

Conte's injury, while not as serious, could potentially cause him to miss the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.  The severity of Conte's injury is not yet known, but it may be optimistic for him to be back for the opener. 

The word on Brandon Hardin, however, is much more serious, Hardin is slated to receive an MRI in a couple of weeks, and the talk is that he could be put on the IR, which would end his season early (via ESPN). 

As a result of these injuries, the Bears went out and signed safety Mark LeGree to a one-year contract to add depth to the position. 

LeGree is a second-year safety who was a fifth-round draft pick of the Seahawks in 2011.  He has already spent time on the practice squads of the Cardinals, 49ers and Jets

At 6'0" and 210 pounds, LeGree is the ideal size for the free safety position, but given his inability to stick to a roster, it will be interesting to see if he can make it work here in Chicago. 

LeGree will likely back up safety Anthony Walters, who has now gone from the third-string backup safety to the starter.  Walters has had a solid training camp and preseason and was pushing to make the 53-man roster even before the injuries. 

What is working in Walters' favor is that he has this week to get acclimated to reps with the starters and will play with the starters for three quarters against the Giants

Walters will definitely get a baptism by fire, facing Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.  His experience will surely pay off if he needs to start the opener against Andrew Luck and the Colts