Concerns have been raised recently regarding the overall depth at certain positions for the Chicago Bears. Are they warranted?
Areas of strength
Eben Britton and Willie Young highlight strong presence in trenches
Marc Trestman stated from the very beginning that he wants the Chicago Bears under his direction to have control in the trenches. Based on the outlook for his 2014 team, that vision is coming to pass. His starting offensive line ranked in the top ten last season and his returning every starter. Behind them GM Phil Emery has assembled a nice mix of veteran and young players including tackle Eben Britton and center Brian De La Puente, both of whom started for other teams.
On the defensive side the same idea has begun to unfold. Thanks to some aggressive free agency moves the Bears have Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston starting at defensive end. Right behind them to help is Willie Young who started every game in 2013 for Detroit. At defensive tackle the team has Jeremiah Ratliff and Stephen Paea starting with 26-year old Nate Collins back, who played well last season prior to tearing his ACL. Then there are rookie 2nd and 3rd round picks Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton to fill the gaps.
Kyle Fuller and Kelvin Hayden help ease concern at corner
Cornerback was a primary problem for Chicago heading into the off-season. However, after retaining veterans Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, the team had a much easier time addressing depth concerns. The primary help will come from 1st round pick Kyle Fuller, an immediate help as the third man but also a future starter. In addition, veteran Kelvin Hayden was also brought back. Together with third-year man Isaiah Frey they bring valuable starting experience at nickel corner, giving the Bears five bodies who can play at least reasonably good defense.
Josh Morgan and Eric Weems bring experience at receiver
Doubts have surfaced about the situation for the Chicago Bears wide receiving corps. Most of that centers around what they have behind superstars Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Perhaps most of those worries center on second-year man Marquess Wilson, who is slated for the third spot but has just two catches to his name thus far as a pro. It is a valid issue, but Phil Emery was quick to alleviate the stress when he signed Josh Morgan in free agency. The former 49er and Redskin has six years of starting experience. Together with veteran Eric Weems, there is enough in reserve to survive a serious setback.
Ka’Deem Carey and Michael Ford offer talent but no game tape
Matt Forte is the main man at running back. Behind him? It’s no so much a lack of talent as a lack of proven chops in the pros that makes the position a question mark. Scouts liked the varying abilities of second-year man Michael Ford and rookie Ka’Deem Carey coming out of college. Their problem is simple. Neither has taken a single regular season handoff in the NFL. So until they do, their validity as backups is questionable.
Christian Jones and Khaseem Greene have upside but also question marks
Linebacker for the Bears is in a sort of unusual flux at the moment. They do lack for proven experience. The problem is figuring out who the starters and reserves will be. Really the only two players expected to make the roster but not start are second-year man Khaseem Greene and undrafted rookie Christian Jones. Both are very good athletes with tremendous physical upside. Yet each has his own question mark. Greene started some games in 2013 and looked lost much too often on the field. Jones can do anything he wants physically, but seems to lack ideal instincts, which is bad for a linebacker.
Martellus Bennett getting little help at tight end
If there is one area on the Chicago Bears otherwise strong offense, it is at tight end. There is no question starter Martellus Bennett is one of the better players at his position in the league, but behind him is really nothing more than a ragtag group of journeyman and unproven bodies. Dante Rosario is a special teams helper. Matthew Mulligan is mostly a blocker and Zach Miller never topped 220 receiving yards in three years for the Jaguars. Not exactly a group that inspires confidence.
No proven starters means no proven depth at safety
In order to even begin talking about good depth, a team should have good starters. There is no one without the other. Therefore since the Bears have not established who their starters will be at either safety position before the 2014 season, it is impossible to discuss whether they will have any credible depth in that area. In other words the position, as a whole is a concern.