Our Windy City Gridiron Roster Battles series ran from July 21st through August 2nd, so if you missed any of those you can access the full story stream by clicking here.
The biggest position battles taking place for the Chicago Bears this preseason are on the defensive side of the ball. The starting safeties are still up for grabs as are two of the three linebacker positions.
We've seen a revolving door of safeties since OTAs on through training camp. Ryan Mundy (jersey #21) has probably seen the most action with the ones, but he's had his share of time down with the twos. Former Pro Bowler Adrian Wilson (#44) has seen time on the first string of late, but starters at yesterday's practice were Mundy and Danny McCray (#29).
Since preseason is usually so vanilla on defense -- a lot of zone -- be sure to watch the angles and tackling from the Bears safeties. The Philadelphia Eagles like to play at a high tempo and they'll probably be chucking the ball around, so keep an eye on the closing speed from Mundy, McCray, Wilson, M.D. Jennings (#37), Brock Vereen (#45) and Marcus Trice (#35) when targeting the ball in the air. Chris Conte and Craig Steltz will not play.
We haven't heard a lot about Trice in camp, but his size suggests he could play some nickel and/or corner too, plus he's the only defensive back on the roster listed at DB.
I'll guess that Shea McClellin (strong side) and D.J. Williams (middle) will start along with Lance Briggs at linebacker. Jon Bostic has been running at middle linebacker in nickel packages, but he may also see time in their base D at Sam and Mike. McClellin (#50) could also spend some time in the middle. Another player to take note of is undrafted rookie Christian Jones (#96). He's stood out during training camp and a good performance will help ease him off the bubble. Former Wisconsin Badger Conor O'Neill was waived on Tuesday, so if you're looking for him, you're out of luck.
#3 Wide receiver
The aforementioned Conor was cut to make room for wide out Greg Herd (#81). His addition was necessitated after Marquess Wilson went down to a broken clavicle. Wilson was solidifying his hold on the #3 WR job and his injury doesn't appear to be season ending.
Since we last visited the wide out position battles Terrence Toliver was released. Eric Weems will probably be the 3rd WR heading into Friday's game, but we could also see Josh Morgan (#19) working with the ones some. I'm excited to see what former CFL'er Chris Williams (#82) has to offer. Depending on how often the Eagles are scoring and/or punting, expect to see a slew of different returners fighting for a job.
#2 Tight End
If Martellus Bennett's suspension lingers through Friday it will give the back up tight ends some time to shine. Matthew Mulligan (#85) is probably the best blocker of the back ups and he'll want to show his catching ability against the Eagles. Jeron Mastrund (#87) is another block first TE that will hope to see some passes thrown his way. Dante Rosario and Zach Miller (#86) will be in the mix too.
I'll also be paying close attention to all the new faces on the Bears' defensive line and to the fight for the #2 quarterback job. I'm hoping to see rookie tailback Ka'Deem Carey (#25) flash something as well.
For more on the Preseason opener against the Eagles be sure to check out Steven's Game Preview.
What are you looking forward to most on Friday night?