Numbers Game: How many will the Bears carry?

If we all do an area sweep like this we'll be sure to find coach Tice's contact lensA


On Friday, I explored who could be in and out. Admittedly it's early for those kind of predictions and with the preseason slate kicking off this week it's a topic that can be explored in more detail in coming days and weeks. Today I wanted to shift that focus around from the specifics of who to how many as in how many of each position group will the Bears carry on their final roster. This isn't too hard because all one has to do is look back to past seasons and see how many of each position the Bears carried to get an idea. So let's see what the odds say.

To me, this is an interesting topic to broach because the numbers will generally change with the offensive coordinator. Lovie is fairly consistent with his defensive personnel, but with all the changes at offensive coordinator, the offensive numbers fluctuate a bit.

Especially this season, where the Bears appeared to be loaded at WR, RB and TE. There have been mentions of the Bears carrying as many as 6 WRs, 4 TEs and/or 4 RBs. Is it even possible?

So here's how the Bears roster breaks down over the past four seasons:

2011 - Defense: 5 safeties, 6 cornerbacks, 5 linebackers, 5 defensive tackles and 5 defensive ends

Offense: 3 quarterbacks, 4 running backs, 6 receivers, 3 tight ends, 8 offensive linemen.

2010 - Defense: 5 Ss, 6 CBs, 6 LBs, 5 DTs, 4 DEs

Offense: 3 QBs, 4 RBs, 5 WRs, 4 TEs, 8 OL

2009 - Defense: 5 Ss, 6 CBs, 6 LBs, 5 DTs, 4 DEs

Offense: 2 QBs, 3 RBs, 1 FB, 6 WRs, 4 TEs, 8 OL

2008 - Defense: 5 Ss, 6 CBs, 6 LBs, 5 DTs, 4 DEs

Offense: 3 QBs, 4 RBs, 1 FB, 6 WRs, 3 TEs, 8 OL

So as you can see, Lovie's defense stays about the same, the only change there (5 DTs last season vs. 4 in previous years) could be that they solidified Izzy as a DE instead of a tweener guy who played a little of each.

As for the offense, you can see a change in personnel between Turner and Martz. Turner carried a FB and usually traded between a 4th RB or a 4th TE. Martz preferred a 4th TE to a 6th WR in 2010 but last season went with 6 WRs instead of the 4th TE.

So what will Tice do? Well for one thing there is unlikely to be anyone listed at FB, instead he opts for an H-back/"move" TE. So in all likelihood he'll opt for 4 TEs and with no FB could allow the team to carry both 4 RBs and 6 WRs (see 2009 for where I came up with that). He'll probably keep 8 OL like in past years so that would be J'Marcus Webb, Chris Spencer, Roberto Garza, Lance Louis, Gabe Carimi, Chris Williams and then who else for the last two? We've heard good things about both James Brown and Cory Brandon but would Tice trust two unproven guys as depth vs. someone like Edwin Williams? Plus, could Brown or Brandon last on the practice squad without being snatched up?

Maybe Tice decides to go with two QBs (Jay Cutler and Jason Campbell) and put Matt Blanchard onto the PS because he is less likely to get poached?

What do you think? What will positional break downs look like after final cuts? I'll be interested to see what kind of personnel Tice likes to carry.

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