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NFL Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears: 5 Players Facing Make-or-Break Seasons in 2013

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Chicago Bears: 5 Players Facing Make-or-Break Seasons in 2013

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the upcoming NFL season, many teams have a few guys that could be on the bubble, as they say. This year may be the year that proves their future with their current teams, and some, with the NFL. The Chicago Bears have done quite a bit already in the offseason through free agency and via the NFL Draft. Addressing some of their major needs has been at the forefront of their work.

Despite the potential this team has going into the 2013 season, the Bears have a handful of guys that may or may not be with the organization next year. One area that figures to see a lot of attention and competition is linebacker. Chicago has tons of players competing for a job alongside starter Lance Briggs, and based on this year the Bears could know who they want to keep into 2014 and beyond.

Another area that has some experienced guys and depth is at safety. The Bears have four or five guys between both strong and free safety that could play a heavy role on the team if given the chance. After this year's campaign, who knows what general manager Phil Emery decides to do with the players that don't live up to expectations.

Surprisingly, the offensive line features a bit of competition as well with a couple of guys that have their work cut out for them. Impressing new offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer will be the number one task as all of these linemen strive for not only a spot on this year's team, but going forward into the coming years.

Five guys stand out to me right now as facing "make-or-break" seasons in 2013. Without further buildup, here is the list.

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Gabe Carimi, Offensive Tackle/Guard

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Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive lineman Gabe Carimi sure isn't doing himself any favors by missing OTAs at the moment, and he absolutely needs to be there. The Bears have completely renovated their offensive line after drafting versatile lineman Kyle Long and signing both guard Matt Slauson and Pro Bowl tackle Jermon Bushrod. Roberto Garza figures to stay put at center, and the right tackle at the moment appears to be in the hands of J'Marcus Webb. If Carimi even wants a spot on the team as a reserve, he better get things into gear fast.

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D.J. Williams, Linebacker

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Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears bolstered their linebackers by signing former Denver Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams after letting go of Brian Urlacher. Williams signed only a one year deal, and if he wants to play in the NFL after this year he best make a solid impression in Chicago. He has a history of off-field issues with DUIs and a bit of an attitude. With Chicago drafting Jonathan Bostic and Khaseem Greene, Williams hasn't won a job quite yet and may not be the starter come opening weekend.

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Major Wright, Strong Safety

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Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Major Wright has been up and down in his career with the Bears. He's had his share of touchdown-saving tackles and pick-sixes, but he's also disappointed at times by missing tackles that give up huge plays. In the final year of his contract, Wright needs to play the best football of his career in 2013 to make sure he defines himself as a must-sign in 2014.

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Devin Hester, Return Specialist

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Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

If Devin Hester performs well this season, the Chicago Bears will be lethal. But, that's a huge ''if.'' New special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis has high hopes for Hester, as do fans in Chicago. I have a feeling if nothing changes in 2013, Hester won't be seeing the field as much in the future, with the Bears at least. Chicago needs him to revert to form this year and get the ball into the end zone.

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Jay Cutler, Quarterback

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Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

This is the most intriguing of them all with quarterback Jay Cutler. What happens if he does not perform well in 2013? Cutler is in the final year of his deal and must execute on the field if he'd like to stay in Chicago. He is going to have to put it all together mentally and prove himself as a leader on the field. Cutler has a reputation for simply "not caring", yet his coaches and teammates say otherwise. Well, this season it may help his case as a starting quarterback if Cutler proves his doubters wrong.