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Checking the Depth of the Chicago Bears' Water

Al WadeContributor IMay 25, 2009

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 11:  Danieal Manning #38 of the Chicago Bears celebrates with Trumaine McBride #26 and Israel Idonije #71 after Manning scored on a 83-yard kick return for a touchdown in the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field on December 11, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

In the NFL, Injuries accrue to every team. The key is to have enough depth to be able to put someone in and not have a huge drop-off in skill.

Depth is something I would say the Chicago Bears haven't had since the Super Bowl run of '06. But don't get down about the past two seasons, because its led us to now, when I do believe they have that Depth. Without further delay, I'll show you.

OFFENSE

QB: Jay Cutler-Starter, Chad Hanie and Brett Basanez-Backups

Jay is basically a god send to many Bears fans. I personally don't like the way he carries himself in the media. But I also think he will help us achieve success and get the team where they want to be.

Hanie brings us a QB who has been here for at least a year. Basanez is the career journeyman that you see on every team's roster.

RB: Matt Forte-Starter, Kevin Jones-Relief back, Adrian Peterson & Garrett Wolfe-Special Team

Forte heads into his second season hoping to go even father then he did his rookie year, it shouldn't be too hard because he faces the NFL's easiest schedule.

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Jones is now two seasons from his knee injury, which is what most experts say is the time it starts getting back to normal.

Peterson is one of the best special team players have, and is great because he does what the organization asks of him. Wolfe is also a great special teamer who is said to have some carries thrown his way.

FB: Jason Mckie-Starter, Michael Gaines & Jason Davis-Backups

Jason Mckie has been on the team for the last three years, and showed that he can be a reliable receiver out the backfield. Only problem is that he's a smallish FB at 5'11".

Gaines has been brought in as a guy who can play either TE or FB. I think that if he plans on making the final roster it will have to be as the FB. At 6'4", it he would be more of another lineman helping the running backs.

Davis is a long shot but still has a slim chance.  I can't see the Bears holding on to more then one FB for the final roster so it will be fun to see who is the last man standing.

T: Orlando Pace & Chris Williams-Starters, Kevin Shaffer & Frank Omiyale-Backups

Pace is the perennial pro-bowler, who was released by the Rams during Free agency, he has been handed the starting Left Tackle position when he was signed in early April (same day as we acquired Cutler).

Williams is our first round pick from a year ago who will now slide to Right tackle. Williams who was a victim of back problems on the first day of training camp, looks to comeback and prove he is worth the high pick spent on him.

Shaffer will be the right tackle is one of the fore-mentioned goes down. He has the experience needed with 10 years under his belt and starting for Cleveland the last three years. 

Omiyale, the big first day of FA signing, is being given a chance to start at Guard but would move out if injuries cripple the line.

G: Josh Beekmen & Roberto Garza-Starters, Frank Omiyale & Dan Buenning- Backups

Beekman, the third year man out of Boston College, is starting to show some promise. Most throw his name in as the man who will be battling Omiyale for the Starting gig.

If anything I would probably expect a three-man rotation keeping them all fresh. Garza who is the third man I'm talking about here and is a proven player who started on the '06 offensive line. Buenning is a seventh rounder who managed to make the roster last year.

C: Olin Kruetz-Starter

Kruetz along with Urlacher are the only players left from the 2001 playoff team. The captain and known leader in the locker room is the staple of the Bears offensive line.

The man isn't scared to have a mean streak, and will stick up for any player on the team.

WR: Devin Hester & Earl Bennett-Starter, Rashied Davis-Slot, Juaquin Iglesias/Johnny Knox/Brandon Rideau-Backups

Hester should show major strides between this year and last year. Why? Because its his third year as a WR, which is mostly the year wide-outs show what they can do. Last year he had trouble catching the deep ball, and sometimes getting jammed.

This year, I see a more soft-handed Hester with the ability to shed the jams quicker which will lead to more catches and scores. Bennett will most likely end up on the other side of him.

Not being able to get the playbook down really hurt him last year limiting his playing time, but with a whole season and offseason on the team he'll be able to study them more.

Another plus for him, he already knows how Cutler plays being his favorite target as a freshmen; Cutler's senior year.

Davis showed last year he isn't a top tier player by dropping too many balls. But last year as well as '06 he showed he works great in the slot. Iglesias was Bradford's No. 1 guy this year at Oklahoma which featured the nations No. 1 offence.

He'll be worked on the outside so that if Hester or Bennett run into trouble he can step right in. Knox is the speed rookie brought in, he ran somewhere around a 4.3 forty.

A prototypical No. 4 Receiver build will probably has to spend a season or two on situational passing play mainly to just run deep or quick slant.

Rideau is my dark horse to not only make the roster but show in the regular season that he was more then just a Preseason standout.

TE: Greg Olsen & Des Clark-Starters, Kellen Davis & Michael Gaines-Backups

Many fans are expecting Olsen to become one of the top ten Tight Ends in the league this year. I agree 100 percent, but not all round, he'll be a great catching TE and a decent blocking TE.

The only other thing I have to say is that he better have a better grip on the ball when he decides to try and run over people this year.

Clark is listed a starter too because even with Cutler we'll be running a lot of two tight end sets, and why not when we have one of the best duo's in the league.

He's a great leader and real good run blocker, and his soft hands help him bring down balls in traffic. Davis is another good player and he would be starting if not for the two great guys we already have.

He is more of the well rounded type that Des is. Gaines was brought in because he knows the system and is great in the run game, his hands are shaky but he might also get a chance to play FB too so dont look him over too fast.

Defence 

DE: Alex Brown & Adewale Ogunleye-Starters, Mark Anderson-Pass-rush specialist, Jarron Gilbert/Israel Idonije/Henry Melton/Ervin Baldwin-Backups.

Brown is the most reliable DE the Bears have, he's a great run stuffer/stopper and good pass rusher. Re-signed last year, so he'll be here for a while.

Ogunleye is a good player who I never really liked based on how he got to the organization (traded Marty Booker to acquire), it seems as if he is better in the mind set as the No. 2 DE.

Anderson was the Rookie wonder, registering 12 sacks (last year's leader had under five), but for the last two years he seems to have been on vacation because he hasnt even come close to half that. I'm thinking this genius of a line coach can get him back on track.

Gilbert is the pool hopper, and the first pick of the Bears '09 draft. I doubt he see's action unless of a injury. Idonije is the guy on Special Teams that always blocks the kicks.

Melton is a project while Baldwin looks to be more suited for the 3-4 D.

DT: Tommie Harris & Anthony Adams-Starters, Marcus Harrison & Dusty Dvoracek-Rotational

Harris has the potential to be that great player but manages to have lingering injuries, which is terrible. He says that he's all healed and is ready to dominate once again.

Adams is a bulldog, a tough player withsomething to prove.He's risen up the chart to take the spot next to Tommie and deserves it.

Harrison played a bit last year and showed that he wasn't much of a gamble to be picked, but a gem. He will take Harris's spot if there is an injury or when he gets tired.

Dvoracek is that beast you find on everyone's line that is over 300 pounds. One problem, he's probably the most injury prone outta the bunch and that's saying something.

Idonije and Gilbert may also play a role in that rotation if someone goes down.

WLB: Lance Briggs-Starter, Jamar Williams & Marcus Freeman- Backups

Briggs is the only Pro bowler from the Bears last year and is one of the best at what he does, not much more you can say because those two things say it all.

Williams is a great special teams player and almost got a chance to play if Briggs would've left town.

Freeman is the fifth-round pick ; he will replace Williams if he leaves after this season.

MLB: Brian Urlacher-Starter

Face of the Franchise, Team Leader, and Defencive Captain has the most to prove this year that anyone else. Fans mock him, and want to replace his face with Cutlers.

Well guess what, they must have a short-track mind not to remember how much this man has done for us the last decade. Long live MLB Urlacher.

SLB: Nick Roach-Starter, Hunter Hillenmeyer-Backup

Roach won his job as the worst way any player could lose it: by injury. When Hillenmeyer got injured in preseason last year, Roach stepped in perfectly. He beats out Hillenmeyer because of his better pass coverage skills.

Hillenmeyer as you know lost his job to his own injury, he will step in if roach needs rest of needs to come out for a reason. Both are good.

CB: Charles Tillman & Nathan Vasher-Starters, Danieal Manning-Nickleback, D.J. Moore/Corey Graham/Marcus Hamilton/Zachary Bowman-Backups

Tillman is the best corner we have, he tackles great swats balls great and can force fumbles. When I heard people saying that they should move him to safety I was furious, he is so perfect for the cover 2 scheme it would be stupid to move him.

Vasher has had trouble the last two seasons staying healthy, withthe groin and hand. But he has a knack for scooping balls outta the air before it can get to its target when he's healthy.

Manning was moved last year to Nickle and is doing a wonderful job, wonder if he got tips from his cousin (Rickey Manning Jr.). Moore is a Vasher clone and will need to pick up the game before he'll see time. While Graham and Bowman will be a backup if they don't win the FS spot.

SS: Kevin Payne-Starter, Craig Steltz & Al Afalava-backups

Payne is the best safety we have at this point, and will have no trouble beating Steltz for the starting gig. He hits hard and has decent coverage skills like most Strong Safeties, he reminds me a lot like Lawyer Milloy.

Steltz is coming into his second year and after a somewhat bumpy rookie outing is ready to show what he really is made of. I don't really like him, and he's kind of a tool, but he's a good backup.

Afalava is the Bears' sixth round pick and while many thought the Bears would pick a Safety earlier they choose him. The problem is that he too is more of a SS build and not the FS build that we needed.

FS: Josh Bullocks-Starter, Glenn Earl/Zachary Bowman/Corey Graham-Backups

Bullocks is a castoff from the Saints, but I have to think its the man-to-man setup they have going on down their that made him look not so great. The veteran of the group is who I'm pulling for to win the job.

Earl is two years removed from playing after a preseason injury knocked him out for the '07 season. John Hoke has brought him in hoping he still has what he showed in Houston when he was there.

Graham and Bowman are trying to make the transition from Corner to Safety. if the can show that they got a good hand on it one might end up starting somewhere down the line.

A deep team at every position with not much drop off of skill at all of them too, I think things can only go up this season. Somewhere between 10-6 and 13-3. I promise that we'll be in the post-season this year.

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