clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Chicago Bears 2018 Position Battles: Inside linebacker depth already getting tested

New, comments

The inside linebackers are the next group we’re spotlighting in our position by position look at the Chicago Bears’ training camp battles.

NFL: Chicago Bears-Minicamp
Look, it’s Roquan Smith on the practice field... from OTAs.
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Once all the inside linebackers are healthy and under contract for the Chicago Bears, this position group should be a real strength. But so far at camp, this is the thinnest position group on the roster. So thin, that they had to sign a guy off the street just to be able to practice two deep at the position.

Week one against the Packers is still a long way off, so it should all work out, right?

Roster Locks

Roquan Smith will sign eventually. My guess is by the weekend if not before.

If this drags on another week I’ll be concerned, but so far his absence is in the news because the Bears are only one of two teams that have reported to camp. Players only have so much wiggle room when it comes to their contracts, so I don’t fault them for getting everything they can. The Bears are just protecting their interests, but at some point they need to realize getting Smith locked up and at practice is the best thing for the franchise.

Fellow rookie Joel Iyiegbuniwe tweaked his shoulder and has been held out for a couple days now.

The Bears discovered Danny Trevathan’s hamstring injury on the first day of camp, and we haven’t heard much about it since then. This could very well be them being extra cautious with a player that is a no-doubt-about-it starter.

Nick Kwiatkoski has benefited from the extra time with the ones in camp, but his roster spot was never in question. He was even spotted working some at outside linebacker during camp so far, which would line up with the offseason reports that the Bears were thinking about having him slide into the Christian Jones (ILB/OLB) role.

A good bet to make it

Every year of the Vic Fangio era, the Bears opened up with four inside linebackers on the 53-man roster, so if we go off that, then those four I listed as locks will make it awfully hard for a bubble guy to break through.

But if one were to make it as a fifth ILB...

On the bubble

... I think that would be John Timu. I’ve always liked the way Timu plays football. He’s not the most athletic, but his instincts are sound and he’s made himself into a decent special teamer.

Josh Woods, who is converting from defensive back, and Ro’Derrick Hoskins, who just signed yesterday, are both trying to impress enough to make the practice squad.

EDIT: Depth concerns led the Bears to add Ro’Derrick Hoskins, but he’ll have an uphill climb to the final roster.