Hunter Hillenmeyer v. Nick Roach
This position is often overlooked in the scheme the Bears run, where the other two linebackers have more responsibilities. It is even more overlooked when you have two studs like Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs in the other positions.
But it is still a vital position, since this LB will have to take advantage of all the attention placed on Urlacher and Briggs. It is also important in generating pass rush in addition to the defensive line.
Even though Roach took the starting position away from Hillenmeyer in the middle of the season last year, the position is up for grabs going into this year's training camp. However, both guys might lose out if the Bears sign Pisa Tinoisamoa, the leading tackler on the St. Louis Rams last year.
Hunter Hillenmeyer: No. 92 H: 6-4 W: 238 Experience: 7 years
2008 Stats: G: 13 Tackles: 17 Solo: 13 Assists: 4 Sacks:1
He lost his starting spot after an abysmal performance against Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings. To be fair, none of the Bears could tackle Peterson that day. Until last year, Hillenmeyer had been a solid four-year starter on the team, who was often overshadowed by Urlacher and Briggs. Hillenmeyer has an advantage in his size and experience in the system, but seems to have lost his coaches' confidence.
Nick Roach: No. 53 H: 6-1 W: 234 Experience: 3 years
2008 Stats: G: 14 Tackles: 33 Solo: 24 Assists: 9
Roach took Hillenmeyer's starting spot after the bye week in Week 8 last year and never gave it up. Although his stats are not too impressive, there must be something that the Bears coaches liked about him to keep him in the starting lineup over Hillenmeyer. That's a huge leap for an undrafted free agent who was on the Chargers practice squad before the Bears picked him up. Another year in the Bears system should help him get familiar with positioning.