Strategy And Personnel

The Sports Xchange


--FS Major Wright is making a smooth transition to the starting lineup. The 2010 third-round pick was outstanding in run support in the preseason opener, making 5 unassisted tackles in the first half.

--QB Caleb Hanie ran for a four-yard TD, but he completed just three of seven passes for 32 yards and was sacked three times.

--RB Kahlil Bell, who has spent the past two seasons with the Bears but was inactive for all 16 games last season after rushing for 220 yards on 40 carries as a rookie, was the game's leading rusher Saturday night with 73 yards on 13 carries for a 5.6-yard average. He also caught two passes for 46 yards.

--RB Marion Barber, in a battle with Chester Taylor for the backup job, picked up 45 yards on seven carries (6.4-yard average).

--WR Kris Adams, an undrafted rookie from UTEP, had a game-high 58 receiving yards on three catches.

The fight is "only" for the backup job behind Matt Forte, but, since it involves a couple of high-profile veterans -- Marion Barber and Chester Taylor -- it is being closely scrutinized. Barber is the clear leader so far, as he rushed for 45 yards on seven carries in the preseason opener, while Taylor managed just three yards on three carries. Barber also appears to be quicker and shiftier while also running with the power than Taylor failed to exhibit last season, while he was averaging just 2.4 yards per carry.

While they're not battling for the same position, newly acquired center Chris Spencer and right guard Lance Louis are competing for the fifth starting spot on the offensive line. Louis is at right guard only because incumbent right guard Roberto Garza was moved to center after negotiations with Olin Kreutz broke down. That handed Louis the right guard job. But he was burned for two sacks Saturday night, which could necessitate Garza's move back to right guard with Spencer stepping into the pivot.


First-round offensive tackle Gabe Carimi moved into the starting lineup in the first week of training camp, as almost everyone who watched the Bears' offensive line play last season, expected. But Carimi is far from satisfied.

"I have high expectations for myself," he said, "and I always want to do better than what other people think I should.

Offensive line coach Mike Tice has already referred to Carimi as an "elite" run blocker, but player and coach both know his pass blocking must improve.

This year's second-round pick Stephen Paea has struggled to get much playing time at nose or 3-technique, both of which are deep positions for the Bears.

"This year it's a little more difficult because we haven't had all that offseason work," DL coach Rod Marinelli said of the rookie's dilemma. "So it all hits him in the face at once from assignments and technique and drills and hustle and all the things we do. He's been very solid for us, but this year it is a little bit tougher."

Fourth-round pick, S Chris Conte had three tackles, while playing most of the second half with the second team.

QB Nathan Enderle, the fifth-round pick from Idaho, completed 7 of 10 passes for 110 yards in his first professional game, but he was intercepted once and sacked five times, failing to show much escape ability.

J.T. Thomas, the sixth-round pick from West Virginia, has positioned himself for a roster spot with his early performance in camp, even though a nagging hip injury kept him out of the preseason opener.


--NT Anthony Adams did not play in Saturday's game because of a calf injury.

--DT Marcus Harrison suffered a shoulder injury late in the second quarter and did not return but his injury is not considered serious.

--CB Zack Bowman left in the third quarter with a head injury and did not return.




--S Josh Bullocks is not part of what is a crowded house at safety, as the Bears will look to go younger with Major Wright.

--QB Todd Collins won't be back and shouldn't have been around last season as his postseason performance showed.

--LB Pisa Tinoisamoa is an oft-injured player and would only be back on a one-year deal at the Bears' price.

--LB Rod Wilson is a solid special teamer who has never made much of an impact on the defense and will likely be replaced by a younger player.

--RB Garrett Wolfe never found a niche in the offense but earned his keep as a special teams coverage guy. That won't be enough to bring him back.




--QB Gabe Carimi (1/29): 4 yrs with 5th-yr option; terms unknown.

--DT Stephen Paea (2/53): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--S Chris Conte (3/93): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--QB Nathan Enderle (5/160): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--LB J.T. Thomas (6/195): 4 yrs, terms unknown.


--NT Anthony Adams: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

--DB Corey Graham: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--LB Brian Iwuh: UFA; terms unknown.

--LB Nick Roach: UFA; terms unknown.


--RB Kahlil Bell: ERFA; terms unknown.

--TE Desmond Clark: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--QB Caleb Hanie: RFA (tendered at $1.2M with no compensation); $1.2M/1 yr.

--G/C Edwin Williams: ERFA; terms unknown.


--RB Marion Barber: FA Cowboys; $5M/2 yrs, guarantees unknown.

--DE Vernon Gholston: FA Jets; terms unknown.

--QB Matt Gutierrez: FA; terms unknown (subsequently released).

--WR Sam Hurd: UFA Cowboys; terms unknown.

--DT Amobi Okoye: FA Texans; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--P Adam Podlesh: UFA Jaguars; $10M/5 yrs, guarantees unknown.

--TE Matt Spaeth: UFA Steelers; terms unknown.

--C Chris Spencer: UFA Seahawks; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

--NT Tank Tyler: FA; terms unknown.

--WR Roy Williams: FA Cowboys; terms unknown.


--WR Devin Aromashodu: Not tendered as RFA/Vikings; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--WR Rashied Davis: UFA Lions; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--DT Tommie Harris (released).

--LB Hunter Hillenmeyer (released).

--C Olin Kreutz: UFA Saints; terms unknown.

--S Danieal Manning: UFA Texans; $20M/4 yrs, $9M guaranteed.

--TE Brandon Manumaleuna (released/non-football injury).

--P Brad Maynard: UFA Texans; terms unknown.

--TE Greg Olsen (traded Panthers).

--OT Kevin Shaffer (released).

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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