With the 2012 NFL regular season on the horizon and the injury list for the Chicago Bears mounting, the Bears roll into the MetLife Stadium to face the New York Giants with a number of positional battles to still be decided. With this in mind here is a list of five players to watch this week.
Armando Allen, running back. With the Bears front office taking the decision to waive the contract of Kahlil Bell late Thursday evening, Allen looks to currently be a firm lock for the third RB spot on the Bears 53 man roster.
Allen has had a solid camp and has arguably already manoeuvred himself into a great position to displace Bell on the roster. This was of course before Bell refused a $500,000 pay cut, and requested to be released.
Look for Allen to show a contribution on special Tteams, as well as showing his abilities as a running back. Blocking out of the backfield will also be a key factor in him staying in front of Lorenzo Booker on the depth chart.
JaMarcus Webb, Left Tackle. The battle for left tackle rolls into NYC with still more questions than answers. Webb let Chris Williams back into the equation with his poor display against the Denver Broncos.
Both Webb and Williams had strong performances against the Washington Redskins. The Giants will offer the perfect test for one of these two to distance himself from the other, in the battle for a starting role.
Dane Sanzenbacher, wide receiver. The Bears are loaded at WR, something I have never been able to say before. Sanzenbacher is in a heads up battle with Rashied Davis for the last roster spot at the position.
Sanzenbacher has the edge as an actual receiver, but this battle could very well be decided by whomever has more to offer on Special Teams, with the Bears for once looking pretty shaky on their ST defense.
Nick Roach, linebacker. Call me a pessimist (or a realist), but the doubts over Brian Urlacher’s availability will remain right up until kickoff against the Indianapolis Colts on September 9th.
Hopefully Roach can continue to prove that he has progressed, so that he can at least perform an adequate job in the Mike position. Last time Urlacher was out injured the run defense really suffered.
This could be an interesting insight not only for this season, but the way in which the Chicago Bears may look to go in the future once Urlacher has retired.
Craig Steltz, free safety. Another season, another headache for the Bears at the safety position. With rookie Brandon Hardin and starting FS Chris Conte both sitting on the sidelines with injuries, the Bears are wafer thin at the position.
Steltz is a cheap option for the Bears depth at the position. Now the Bears need him to step up to the next level and fill in at a position that isn’t the greatest to begin with. I will be watching to make sure his angles are solid and that he is disciplined in his approach to the position.
Do not be surprised if you see Steltz taking over on safety blitzing, as he showed a real knack for getting into the backfield in drills at training camp.