Chicago Sun-Times

Bears concerned about depth at safety and running back

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Two starters didn't finish Sunday's victory in Arizona, and Lovie Smith didn't have any meaningful updates on either Matt Forte or Chris Conte.

Forte insisted to the Sun-Times that he would play next Sunday but the status of Conte is more unclear. Smith said Conte "pull a hamstring muscle." If it's a Grade 1, Conte may be able to return for the finale. But if it's a Grade 2, he could be sidelined for a few weeks. Brian Urlacher has missed three starts with what appeared to be a Grade 2 hamstring strain while Jonathan Scott missed Sunday's game with a hamstring injury.

Asked if he's concerned about the depth at safety, Smith said, "Yes, I'm concerned.

"We've lost a few good players here from the last couple weeks in Craig Steltz and Chris Conte pulling his muscle yesterday. Anthony Walters stepped in yesterday and we have a couple other options."

Walters played 33 snaps and finished with two tackles. The second-year player and Major Wright are the only three safeties currently on the 53-man roster.

Asked if cornerback Zack Bowman is an option at safety, Smith said, "We have a couple other options.

"Of course, I'm not going to go into them right now. We have a few other options, at least one option that I'm thinking of."

One could be veteran cornerback Kelvin Hayden, an intelligent player who is very familiar with the Bears defensive scheme.

Smith also acknowledged that depth at running back is also a concern. Other than Forte, the Bears have Kahlil Bell and Armando Allen on the active roster, and Harvey Unga on the practice squad.

"Whenever you have a limited amount of guys time this tie of year anyways, and when you have a player that goes down, it makes you shuffle things. Hopefully, Matt will be OK," Smith said, "and a lot of these [injuries] we're talking about, hopefully their injuries aren't as bad as maybe as most of us think - most of you think."

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Isn't it time to see what Harvey Unga can do?

What? You gotta be able to make the active roster in order for someone to see what you can do. Unga has been released from the team twice this year, and was only brought back in december because of injuries.

I think Joe Morgan deserves a bit of attention. He has looked good when he has been in the game.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on December 24, 2012 1:37 PM.

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