Originally posted on Midway Illustrated  |  Last updated 6/12/13
Phil Emery is now in his second year as general manager of the Chicago Bears and in that time he has begun to shape the Chicago Bears roster to his liking.  While a certain status quo has been maintained with the core of the defense mostly remaining intact, the offense and the depth has changed dramatically.  Over the last two seasons Emery has added 29 new players to the Bears depth chart with the biggest changes coming along the offensive line and at the wide receiver position.  Not by coincidence those positions have been the weakest groups of player on the roster since Jay Cutler’s arrival in Chicago.  For the 2013 season there could be only two remaining offensive linemen from Jerry Angelo’s regime.  Edwin Williams could remain in Chicago, which would make three, but his status is in doubt. There will be at a minimum four new starters on the offensive line that return from the 2012 season.  J’Marcus Webb will shift to right tackle, but could be supplanted by a veteran he is in competition with.  There will likely be at least four new offensive linemen that are different from the 2011 53-man roster. At the wide receiver position Emery added two number one receivers in Brandon Marshall, arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL and Alshon Jeffery who is better than any wide receiver the Bears have had in the last 25 years of football.  Making up the depth is Earl Bennett and rookie Marques Wilson as well as Devin Hester and Joe Adams.  Adams likely makes the roster over Eric Weems given the likelihood Hester remains on the roster due to his return ability.  On defense the front four has changed quite a bit as well, with only Henry Melton and Julius Peppers remaining as starters from the 2011 season.  Gone are Anthony Adams and Israel Idonije as one time starters and, Matt Toeaina, Amobi Okoye, Mario Addison and Nick Reed.  The real head scratcher is how Reed and Addison made the 53-man roster in the first place given their sheer lack of talent.  Checking in now are Corey Wootton as a new starter, Shea McClellin as the primary backup and another rookie in Cornelius Washington who is going to be counted on to be the fourth primary rotational DE for the 2013 season.  Wootton on defense and Forte on offense remain the best Jerry Angelo draft picks in recent memory with both capable of being Pro Bowl players during the 2013 season.  The biggest overhaul on defense is at the linebacker position, which for the better part of a decade has been the heart and soul of the Chicago Bears defense.  While Lance Briggs remains the obvious absence of Brian Urlacher could determine how successful this defense is.  Urlacher was the heart and soul of the defense, even when he wasn’t healthy.  No one would ever question the defensive captain, nor make waves with a future hall of fame linebacker in charge. Now the Bears face an uncertain future on defense as to who will step up and be the leader in the locker room.  No one has ever had to be the leader because the franchise has belonged to Urlacher since he became the man on defense.  Will Charles Tillman step up and assume more of a leadership role?  Can a rookie step in and surprise us all and quietly start to emerge as a potential heir to Urlacher’s role?  To keep up the momentum on defense the Bears will need new faces to step up.  Shea McClellin will have to step up and prove himself as a future potential starter and impact defensive end.  The rotation will have to emerge at the defensive tackle position and the Lance Briggs will have to sustain his level of play and there will have to be an emergence from another player in the front seven.  Hopefully Stephen Paea, Chris Conte, Major Wright and Shea McClellin, can continue to grow and perhaps a rookie can surprise.   
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