Bears' Depth a Question of Perception

The Chicago Tribune’s Dan Pompei has lost his damn mind!  He wrote about how he thought the Bears have increased their depth this offseason.  I couldn’t disagree more.

The Bears’ depth is actually one of my biggest concerns heading into the 2010 campaign.   Pompei points to certain position groups where the Bears do have some depth, like linebacker, running back and tight end.  I would agree that all of those positions do offer some solid, proven depth.  But Dan lost me in this article when he started talking about other position groups where he claims the Bears have depth, like defensive line, wide receiver and left guard of all things.  Let’s dive a little deeper.

Defensive line

Yes, the Bears play a rotation of linemen to keep everyone fresh, but aside from Julius Peppers, Tommie Harris (if healthy and motivated) and Anthony Adams, who on the Bears line has really proven they can be a consistent performer?  Maybe Izzy Idonije, who has excelled as a role player and special teamer but hasn’t been called on to play more significant time.  Mark Anderson has been MIA since his rookie season and will make Bears fans miss Alex Brown and Wale Ogunleye more than they know.  The next meaningful contribution that either Jarron Gilbert or Henry Melton make will be their first.  Marcus Harrison is usually either too fat or too sick to even practice.  Corey Wooten could be a steal in the draft, but he’s got to show me that he’s healthy before I buy in.

Safety

Pompei lists a lot of names, but aside from Chris Harris, is there anyone who has done it at this level.  All indications are that Major Wright has the tools to play on Sundays, but he hasn’t done it yet.  Between Steltz, Manning and Afalava, none of them seems to consistently know where to go in Lovie’s Cover-Who? defense.

Left Guard

This is where the train went off the tracks for me.  Raise your hand if you know who Johan Asiata is.   How about Lance Louis?  The biggest headlines he’s made in his career are for beating up a teammate in college.  Here’s what Dan says about this position:

Usually, coaches prefer to play only five offensive linemen. But if neither Johan Asiata nor Lance Louis seizes the left guard spot, it’s possible both could play.

Seriously? Left guard by committee?   I hope Jay Cutler has paid up his life insurance premiums!

And speaking of Cutty, how about these positions that Dan fails to mention altogether?

Quarterback

Isn’t it nice to head into a season without a quarterback competition?   But in reality, the competition should be for who should stay behind Cutler.  Caleb Hanie has been around for a couple of years now, but he’s never done it at this level.  The Bears went on to draft Dan LeFevour, but don’t think that a rookie is going to be able to step into Mike Martz’s system and contribute.  We’ve been talking about this since we traded for Cutler – we need a veteran backup.  Mike Martz hasn’t been shy about it, but Bears management has yet to do anything about it.  Where are Marc Bulger or Josh McCown?

Cornerback

Peanute Tillman and Zack Bowman are solid as the starters, but go ahead and name the other players at the position.  Tim Jennings is great if you’re playing in a 5’9″ and under league, but he’ll get destroyed going up against the super-sized receivers in the NFC North.  If Tillman gets hurt (and sadly he usually does), who do you have behind him?

Offensive Line

I’ve saved the scariest for last – the Oh no-line.  Olin Kreutz is coming off offseason surgery and is about 100 years old (in NFL years).  Roberto Garza has been steady and Chris Williams appears to be the real deal (if his pre-injured bad back doesn’t flare up.  Who else have you got?  Mike Tice will really earn his paycheck to get this unit up to NFL standards.  If anyone on that line gets hurt, it could be really scary.

The Bears might have some depth at a couple of positions, but it’s a total lack of proven, quality depth at a few other key positions that scares the hell out of me.   Dan is a smart football guy, so I’ll chalk this one up to sun stroke or a minor head injury.

BEAR DOWN!!!

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/ct-spt-0615-pompei-bears-depth–20100614,0,4086021.column

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