Chicago Bears defensive end Shea McClellin (99) hits Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) during in the second quarter of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Roethlisberger escaped the tackle. The Steelers lost 40-23. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
The Chicago Bears have another four days before they take the field against the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday night at Soldier Field, but over the weekend they unveiled their first depth chart of the preseason.
Some of the selections weren’t surprising, with Jordan Palmer being listed as the number two quarterback behind Jay Cutler. All along head coach Marc Trestman has said that Palmer will get the first crack at the back-up job, with Jimmy Clausen likely getting third team reps when the team plays their first preseason game.
Marquess Wilson was also listed as the back-up wide receiver to Brandon Marshall, making him the number three receiver on the team. Dante Rosario was also listed as Martellus Bennett’s back-up at tight end.
Outside of those fairly obvious decisions, there were a few surprises too. Shaun Draughn, who took camp by storm last week as he began taking second team reps behind Matt Forte at running back, was named the back-up on the depth chart, with Michael Ford, Ka’Deem Carey, and Senorise Perry rounding out the list.
Shea McClellin also was a surprising addition to the chart, being listed as the starting strong side linebacker for the Bears. Lance Briggs is at his usual weak side position, and Jon Bostic and DJ Williams were both listed in the top spot among middle linebackers. Finally, Ryan Mundy was named the starting strong safety on the chart, with Brock Vereen listed as the starting free safety.
Naturally, the caveat has to be mentioned that these starting jobs could very well change between now and Friday, but it’s still interesting to see where the Bears’ heads are at when it comes to the position battles that are going on in camp. The question about who will start at linebacker is especially interesting, since McClellin hasn’t exactly wowed pundits in camp and there were many who assumed that Bostic would get reps at the position. He has been getting more work in nickel packages and at the middle linebacker position in the standard 4-3 front however, and this positioning on the depth chart reflects that.
As for the safeties, Trestman said before camp that the positions are interchangeable, and he hasn’t deviated from that mentality just yet. Vereen and Adrian Wilson have been working well together in the early days of training camp, but Mundy has gotten the big bulk of reps at the strong safety spot with the first teamers. Wilson is the biggest threat to Mundy’s job at that position, but it will likely come down to performance in the preseason before any type of determination is made.
Armed with this new depth chart, the Bears will return to Bourbonnais for practice on Monday afternoon, with the gates opening at Olivet Nazarene University at 3pm.