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Chicago Bears Position Battles: LB

So Brian Urlacher is hurt enough to miss a meaningless (for him anyway) preseason game, but not hurt enough to miss time had this been week one of the regular season. It's just precautionary they say. Not a big deal they say. But, and this is a big but, at his age his wheels can go at any time. I really hope he's not at that point. If he can't play the majority of the season I fear the defense will fall apart.

With Urlacher nursing an injury, Nick Roach coming off some surgery, and Lance Briggs hurting his ankle against Arizona, will the Bears open up with a 7th or maybe an 8th linebacker on the roster, just in case?

Urlacher is on pace to play week one, as is Roach, but Briggs' status is still up in the air. All three of these players will be on the opening day roster, as will possible starting strong side linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa and eight year proHunter Hillenmeyer, who has looked solid filling in at MLB. Special teams standout Tim Shaw is a no brainer, but after him, it's anybody's guess.

They are very high on Brian Iwuh as a back up OLB and as another core (or is is corp?) special teamer. The special teams is where he's made his name during his four years in Jacksonville and it's where the Bears envision him playing the majority of his snaps in Chicago. Briggs missing this last preseason game on Thursday will let Iwuh showcase his talents on a big stage, and at this point, I think the roster spot is his to lose. I think he sticks as a 7th LB.

With only nine total linebackers on the current roster, that tells me they really like the group they have and it wouldn't surprise me to see both Kevin Malast and Kelvin Smith stick around somehow, either on the practice squad or IR. Malast has had the bigger impact this far in the preseason, so if they only have eyes for one, it's him.

Linebacker is a position the Bears have pursued in the past after teams cut down to size, so Jerry Angelo might scour the waiver wire and look to improve his team.