Strength and weakness are always making up an NFL roster. Which Chicago Bears positions fall in each category
Strength: Wide Receiver
It’s a phrase that is still not quite sinking in for a lot of Chicago Bears fans simply because nobody can remember an era where the team was rich with talent at wide receiver. The presence of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery alone, two Pro Bowlers, is enough to stir excitement. Then comes intriguing talent Marquess Wilson, capable veteran Josh Morgan, special teams aces Eric Weems and Chris Williams and then a mix of youth and experience at the back end and the Bears have assembled a deep and talented stable of weapons for now and in the future.
Weakness: Tight End
Unfortunately that does not extend to the cousin position of receiver at tight end. Martellus Bennett is the only proven player in the mix and the unquestioned starter. Behind him is a mix of high hopes and role players. Fendi Onobun is ridiculously athletic big man with major upside but has had trouble grasping football after a long college career in basketball. Dante Rosario is a special teams player who can make the occasional catch. As for Zach Miller and Matthew Mulligan, they don’t offer much help in the passing game beyond emergency reserves.
Strength: Defensive End
Phil Emery went into the 2014 off-season with a clear vision of how to rebuild the Chicago Bears defense from the disaster it was a year ago. His plan? Start up front. That meant improve the defensive line with the key being the end position. Things got started when he successfully brought in Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, two experienced starters with decent pass rush skill and ability stopping the run. Then he added former Bear Israel Idonije, a great locker room presence with rotational value. However the home run soon came after that when All-Pro Jared Allen arrived, bring his double digit sack average in from Minnesota. Throw that veteran core on top of a heap of interesting young talents like David Bass and Cornelius Washington, sprinkled with a couple of experienced journeymen in Trevor Scott and Austen Lane and the Bears are bigger and better than last season.
Optimism has spread its wings regarding the Bears defense thanks to improvements up front but doubts still linger regarding their safety position. In truth they really don’t have any proven starters in the mix. Ryan Mundy, the favorite to win the strong safety job, was primarily a backup most of his career. Chris Conte, the starting free safety in 2013 is rehabbing from shoulder surgery and will have to battle rookie Brock Vereen and former Packer M.D. Jennings for the job whenever he gets back. Hopes are high for Vereen given his athleticism and intelligence but he is a 4th round pick. Beyond that Chicago has mostly special teamers like Craig Steltz and Danny McCray. Marcus Trice is an interesting undersized sparkplug to watch but is likely no more than a practice squad option, as is Sean Cattouse.
Neutral (OFF): Quarterback
Neutral by its very definition is “does not swing one way or another.” In other words it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the Bears have at quarterback. Jay Cutler is their unquestioned starter but as yet is awaiting that breakout performance health and continuity will hopefully bring under Marc Trestman. Jordan Palmer is big, smart and has played some but has never started. David Fales is a 6th round rookie from a small conference but with outstanding numbers. Jerrod Johnson was on the practice squad last year and Jimmy Clausen is a former 2nd round pick who flamed out in Carolina. There is some good and bad with each of those players, and therefore must be watched carefully.
Neutral (DEF): Linebacker
The same goes for the linebackers. Lance Briggs is a seven-time Pro Bowler but missed a lot of games last year with injury and is well into his 30s. The same can be said for middle linebacker D.J. Williams. Shea McClellin is hoping a conversion from defensive end will help him rescue his otherwise unremarkable career thus far. Jon Bostic put up good stats last season despite starting as a rookie but his tape often looked ugly. Khaseem Greene had a couple moments but was highly inconsistent. Jordan Senn is a special teams ace from Carolina and Christian Jones is a freakishly athletic rookie who should’ve been drafted but wasn’t due to a failed drug test at the scouting combine. Another area that could go either way.