Chicago Bears’ Preseason Depth Chart

The Bears released their preseason depth chart, their first one of the season. Here it is:

Some takeaways:

Kyle Long is going to start Week 1 at RG, that's all there is to it. He's listed as the "co-starter," which is a gentleman's way of saying "we're starting the rookie, thanks." 

Eben Britton is slotted as the backup RT, with Matt Slauson hanging on to the LG starter's role. I don't hate it; Britton can play them both, and he's nice depth (that will almost certainly start at some point in the year, as J'Marcus Webb is the starting RT). 

Leonard Pope debuts as the co-4th string (and there's two 3rd-stringers too). That's only because he's new to camp; he's got a good shot to be the 3rd TE behind Maneri and Bennett.

The Bears list Corey Wootoon and Shea McClellin as co-starters at LDE. That's fine, and honestly, defensive line strings don't matter. You are constantly rotating guys in and out of the line, so people play even at 3rd string, and you can generally work out who is good or not as the games actually start getting played.

Jon Bostic is the 2nd string, behind D.J. Williams, for now. It's slightly surprising, but it's really hard to play MLB as a rookie, so I don't consider it a disappointment even if he never starts this year. Lance Briggs will be calling plays in either case.

2012 3rd rounder Brandon Hardin is 3rd on the depth chart at SS, behind Anthony Walters. He's been bad when healthy, and he hasn't been healthy often. He can't tackle in open space, which, well, that'll get you a spot on the 3rd string pretty quickly. He might end up in the Jarron Gilbert school of mid-round busts pretty soon.

Stepping back in a general sense, I get the impression that this team is probably 8-8 or 9-7. The offense is going to be pretty decent (with the obvious health caveat). The line is mediocre, which is really good compared to last year. Cutler is a good QB with plenty of weapons, and Matt Forte is still a top-10 back. The defense is going to take a pretty big step back, though, due to both Lovie Smith's absence and the erosion of play in the secondary (let's not forget how awful Tim Jennings was prior to mid-2011, and how nicked up Tillman gets on a yearly basis). Linebacker is a slight concern also.

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