Chicago Sun-Times

Williams ahead of Knox on Bears' first depth chart

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There were no big surprises on the Bears' first "unofficial' depth chart of the preseason. Roy Williams is ahead of Johnny Knox at the ''X'' wide receiver spot. Rookie Gabe Carimi is the starter at right tackle. Chester Taylor is ahead of newcomer Marion Barber as the backup to running back Matt Forte.

Second-year defensive end Corey Wootton is listed as No. 2 behind Israel Idonje at left end and shares the No. 2 spot behind Julius Peppers with newcomer Vernon Gholston. Rookies Nathan Enderle and Trevor Vittatoe are listed behind Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie at quarterback.

The Bears don't list a slot receiver on their depth chart (Williams and Devin Hester are the listed starters) but it looks like Earl Bennett is ahead of undrafted rookie Dane Sanzenbacher at that spot. Sanzenbacher, who has had steady reps with the first team in practice thus far, appears to be closing the gap. Asked who plays the slot receiver earlier today, wide receivers coach Darryl Drake said, ''Bennett -- for now.''

Free safety Chris Conte, another rookie who has been impressive so far, is No. 2 behind Major Wright. Rookie J.T. Thomas is No. 2 behind Nick Roach at strong side linebacker. The other rookies listed as No. 2 are Dom DeCicco behind Brian Urlacher at middle linebacker and Josh Davis behind Carimi at right tackle -- though veteran players likely would step in at either of those spots in case of injury.

The kickoff returners are Hester, Knox, Kahlil Bell, D.J. Moore and undrafted Sanzenbacher. The punt returners are Hester, Earl Bennett, Knox, Moore and Sanzenbacher.

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Roy Williams is a better fit at the split end position vs Knox because if his size, Williams will give the Bears a bigger player for the position, something they've been needing since Muhsin Muhammad left. The thing that worries me about Williams is his durability problems, its been awhile since he's put together a 16 game season. as far as Knox, he was a pro-bowler the last time he was the Bears main kick-off return man, I don't see why he won't still do the same now. And I'm sure we'll still see a lot of him on offense.

Rookie Dane Sanzenbacher must really be showing something to have receivers coach Darryl Drake say "Bennett is the slot guy for now." Its gonna be interesting watching him during game time action and see what he's all about?

Mark Potash or Sean, I have a question, where is rookie center Alex Linnenkohl listed on the depth chart and how has he looked so far in camp? We know Linnenkohl was a 3 year starter at Oregon State and the scouting report on him said he was tough with a good work ethic, I'm just interested in how he's looked so far? GO BEARS!!

When Jay starts openly challenging corners (like he did last season with DeAngelo Hall), Roy will fight for the ball and make plays. Johnny just didn't have the size and experience to get it done in those situations.

I agree with Kevin. Johnny has some skills. He'll still make an impact on the team, and I expect to see him on the field regularly.

I don't think the Bears have enough stability on the OL to get to the Superbowl, but, Williams should help keep them a playoff contender.

I'm jacked up to watch some games.

I agree with this depth chart at receiver, although I would prefer to see Bennett at the flanker spot, and Hester as the 3rd WR to play in the slot, where his speed and quickness can be utilized, similar to how Welker wreaks havoc on the underneath stuff in New England. Occasionally, you run Hester on a double-move go route, and in most cases a linebacker will be covering him, especially if you catch them in man-to man. Knox has to learn how to fight for the ball, and to force his way into his routes, instead of letting himself be re-directed just by the presence of a defender where he wants to go. Give him another year of earning his stripes, and he should be a decent flanker. He still won't be an X...Not strong enough in his frame to fight off the jam at the line, so he needs the extra yard of cushion.

If they put Sanzenbacher ahead of Bennett on the depth chart, they will be making a mistake in my opinion. Bennett is a well-rounded receiver who has Cutler's trust, which is not something many receivers on this roster can say. Sanzenbacher could be a nice replacement for Rashied Davis on the roster as a 6th WR, but to put him 4th on the depth chart is a reach, especially this early.

I thought Linnenkohl would be more of a player in the offensive line battles, but I believe the team will attempt to stash him on the practice squad, which also means they will limit his action in the preseason accordingly to ensure he isn't spotted by other teams. Brignone surprises me. I didn't expect him to be ahead of Linnenkohl, but he is supposedly more physical, and that's Tice's style. Funny, but it's not Martz's style...

Thanks Mark, it sounds like free agent rookie J.C. Brignone has made the better first impression with Mike Tice because of the fact he's listed ahead of Linnenkohl on the depth chart. Brignone probably first caught the Bears eyes when he was snapping balls to rookie quarterback Nathan Enderle at the East-West Shrine game, I read that Brignone was a bright spot on an overall bad line there. I guess he stood out in pass protection.

Another reason I think the Bears must really like Brignone is Edwin Williams isn't at center anymore. Tice must obviously like Brignone to give him the reps at center, it will be interesting to see how Brignone performs in the pre-season and what Chicago does with him during cut down time, does he make the 53-man roster or do they try and hide him on he practice squad? GO BEARS!!

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on August 10, 2011 1:42 PM.

Monday, Aug. 8 practice observations was the previous entry in this blog.

Martz lauds TE Davis; offense ready for 'quantum leap' is the next entry in this blog.

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