The Chicago Bears’ depth chart has been parsed like the Dead Sea Scrolls in recent weeks, but despite all of the tea-leaf reading and analysis that pundits and fans alike can muster, the chart holds few clues as to who is actually winning the position battles in training camp.
Now with the team breaking camp and preparing to play their second preseason game, we take a look at where the depth chart stands as players continue to battle for roles on the club.
Back-Up Quarterback: Jimmy Clausen
It doesn’t matter what the depth chart actually says in this instance, because Jordan Palmer is still listed as Jay Cutler’s back-up. Clausen has outperformed Palmer both on the practice field and in the preseason, and if he can play a good game on Thursday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he could put a strangehold on a position that Marc Trestman insists is still up for grabs.
Back-Up Running Back: Shaun Draughn
The Bears do want Ka’Deem Carey to ascend to this role, and he may very well end up getting it before the preseason is over, but for right now this is Draughn’s job to lose. Michael Ford hasn’t shown much in camp or in the preseason to make a case for the spot, but Draughn has shown ability to catch balls out of the backfield and is a more adept pass blocker than Carey. If he can have a good game on the running side of things against Jacksonville, look out for him sneaking in and swiping a prominent spot on the depth chart.
Third Wide Receiver: ????
Truth be told, no one has any idea at this point what the Bears are going to do about their third wide receiver role. If Marquess Wilson heals up and only misses a few weeks, he’s going to probably win the job back at some point down the road. Eric Weems hasn’t really grabbed the bull by the horns with his play at the spot, and Chris Williams’ hamstring injury is complicating his efforts to win the gig.
Unless somebody like Micheal Spurlock or Josh Morgan comes out of nowhere to claim the job, the Bears may still seek outside help with a veteran to fill the spot. Danario Alexander is a name that is popping up a lot, so keep an eye out in case the Bears work him out.
Safety: Ryan Mundy and Adrian Wilson
Even though these two players haven’t been together much in the preseason, it would still make sense to put them together. Both players have experience at both the free and strong safety positions, and Wilson’s veteran know-how and Mundy’s athleticism could be a good tandem. Brock Vereen has also looked good with Wilson when the duo has been paired up, and Danny McCray seemed to have good chemistry with Mundy as well.
The darkhorse to keep an eye on in all of this is Chris Conte, who is back on the practice field and eager to prove that last season’s struggles were more a product of the front seven in front of him than his own failures.
Punter: Pat O’Donnell
Neither Pat O’Donnell nor Tress Way emerged from the first preseason game as the obvious favorite for the starting punter job, but the Bears are probably going to be more willing to wait out O’Donnell’s growing pains when all is said and done. He has incredible distance and hang time on his kicks, and if he can complement that with good directional skills (something he does need to work on in the windy environs of Soldier Field), then he is going to be with the team for a long time to come.