The Bears got back to work today at Halas Hall with the first of 13 schedule OTA’s (organized team activities).
The team’s Web site has a photo of rookie running back Matt Forte breaking out of his position in the backfield. He must have been running with the second or third team because center Olin Kreutz is in the background looking on, and we’re not aware of a demotion. The Bears will open up Wednesday’s practice to media (it used to be the team was more accommodating and all OTA’s were open) so we’ll get a better idea of who’s where then.
Coach Lovie Smith announced on the team’s Web site that Terrence Metcalf is in the running for the starting job at left guard with Josh Beekman. He explained John St. Clair, who started the final three games there last season, was viewed as a tackle.
Even though the Inside the Bears staff was relaxing at the beach last week, even it recognized a significant buzz was generated by Smith’s announcement (also on the team-run site) that Cedric Benson would begin atop the depth chart at running back. Benson was the starter before he broke his leg last November. There’s no way Forte is going to be anointed the starter from Day 1 of OTA’s or even Day 1 of training camp. Smith wasn’t going to move Adrian Peterson or Garrett Wolfe to the top of the heap either. It should have been a given Benson was on top, for the time being any way.
Word is that Kyle Orton took the majority of the snaps with the first team at quarterback during the two-hour practice. The team has not laid out how it is going to orchestrate the competition between Orton and Rex Grossman, but one can assume that means Grossman will receive the majority of the snaps with the first team on Tuesday. Smith did announce on chicagobears.com “they are both coming into the competition on equal ground.”
With the first team at linebacker was a familiar face—Lance Briggs. He was running with the starters. In place of absent middle linebacker Brian Urlacher was Rod Wilson. Mike Brown lined up as the starter at free safety and Brandon McGowan was across from him at strong safety.
Again, we’ll have a better look at things come Wednesday. It will not be surprising if contract negotiator Cliff Stein knocks out a rookie contract or two or three soon. Stein got his first deal done on May 15 a year ago. The Miami Dolphins have already signed four draft selections, including No. 1 pick Jake Long. The Bears have 12 to sign. Check back soon for more information.