I’m back. I’m not thrilled about it but I am back and returning to my daily duties.
The Bears begins OTAs tomorrow and while not much drama/news is expected to emerge over the three sessions taking place between now and the seventh of June, there are still questions to be answered when it comes to the make of this talented roster. Here are a few.
WHO IS PLAYING WHERE ALONG THE OFFENSIVE LINE?
Is Edwin Williams really a front-runner for a starting guard position? Are the Bears seriously, as per Brad Biggs’ hypothesis, considering moving Chris Williams back out to tackle? Is J’Marcus Webb in danger of losing his starting position before the team arrives in Bourbonnais in July? Is Gabe Carimi fully healthy? How Mike Tice and Lovie Smith decide to line up their boys this week may provide some clues as to how they’d love to start the season. (My vote: Webb-Chris Williams-Garza-Spencer-Carimi.)
HOW DOES THE RECEIVING CORPS SHAKE UP BEYOND BRANDON MARSHALL?
Devin Hester is not going to have a 100 catches. Brandon Marshall, if healthy, is. He is going to be Jay Cutler’s first look on just about every drop back and anyone who thinks/says otherwise is trying to sell you something. But how will the remainder of the receiving corps look? If Hester slides naturally into the slot as a speed threat where does that leave Earl Bennett? Will Alshon Jeffery spend his first season as a specialty target in the red zone or become a big-ticket, 50+ catch complement to Marshall? Is there any shot of a Johnny Knox sighting in 2012 and does Jay Cutler have any interest in his return if he were healthy enough to do so? Marshall is the sure thing. The rest are questions with potentially brilliant answers as the Bears enter the 2012 campaign with one of the most dynamic receiving corps they’ve ever had.
HOW DO THE ROOKIES FACTOR?
This is always the most interesting information to trickle down from OTAs. What kind of impression will Shea McClellin make on Rod and the defensive coaching staff? Will Brandon Hardin challenge the back of the defensive secondary in a meaningful way? Will Evan Rodriguez do his best Aaron Hernandez impression and impact the Bears base offense? Did the Bears find a steal on the draft’s final day? We won’t know the answers to these questions in OTAs but we’ll start to hear rumblings.
WHO ARE THE STARTING DEFENSIVE TACKLES?
My buddy Adam Oestmann believes the Bears are poised to give Stephen Paea a larger role in the rotation and pair the beast of an athlete beside Henry Melton to begin the 2012 season. I tend to agree with him. But how the position shakes out is surely one of the more interesting questions facing this defense.