Few surprises as Bears list first, second, third strings

Few surprises as Bears list first, second, third strings
August 3, 2014, 5:00 pm
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Fittingly perhaps, the Bears dubbed it the 2014 unofficial depth chart in their first pregame release of the 2014 preseason. Still, it is worth noting:

D.J. Williams and Jonathan Bostic are both listed as starters at middle linebacker with the No. 1 defense. Williams has been with the base 4-3 personnel package while Bostic has been with Lance Briggs as the two linebackers on the No. 1 nickel defense.

Ryan Mundy and rookie Brock Vereen are slotted as the safeties with the No. 1 unit. M.D. Jennings and Danny McCray are with the 2's. The 3’s? Chris Conte, who is still on PUP, and Adrian Wilson, whose last time on a third-string anything may have been the first day of Pee Wee football somewhere. The listings point less to any specific ranking than to how tightly bunched the safety competition is.

[MORE: Boland gives Bears unusual experience at right tackle]

Rookies Ego Ferguson (nose tackle) and Will Sutton (three-technique) are the second line at the defensive tackles while veteran Nate Collins is listed with the third unit. Collins started games at both nose and three last season, an indication of at least the early strength on the interior defensive line where last year’s defensive struggles began.

Eric Weems is listed as No. 1 for both kickoff and punt return. Michael Ford is No. 2 for kickoff returns and Chris Williams for punt returns.

And punters Patrick O’Donnell and Tress Way are both listed as the starter. O’Donnell has had the edge in raw power-kicking through camp, but the rookie will need to prove consistency in game situations. So will Way, for that matter.