Like it or not, '12 Bears largely formed

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Like it or not, '12 Bears largely formed

The critics would like to have had the Bears draft an offensive lineman. The Bears would like to have drafted a defensive tackle, maybe a linebacker (which they might have done with the third-round pick traded away in the Brandon Marshall deal but would you rather have a franchise wideout or a backup linebacker at this point? Easy call.)

Signing 11 undrafted college free agents brings in two tackles, one defensive tackle and a linebacker, so the need areas (perceived or otherwise) werent ignored.

And there will be other moves between now and the starts of minicamps, training camp, preseason and the regular season.

We are currently talking to players and we are looking to add to our roster, definitely," GM Phil Emery said after the draft. Especially since our rosters limit went up to 90, were going to need some more players at all the positions. Were looking to sign a couple and keep improving that roster and keep bringing up the competitive level of that group.

But the major additions have been made -- Marshall, defensive end Shea McClellin, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, thirdnickel safety Brandon Hardin, tight end Evan Rodriguez.

The supplements now are filling in rotations (a veteran defensive tackle) or ideally the pipeline for the future (undrafted free agent tackle James Brown from Troy). Some shuffling in an area like the offensive line is possible, even likely, but the key pieces are in the house, save running back Matt Forte contractually.

The Bears started last season with five first-year undrafted free agents on the roster, getting significant impact out of wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher on offense and linebacker Dom DeCicco and safety Winston Venable on special teams.

But the top three defensive ends are in place -- McClellin, Israel Idonije and Julius Peppers. The top three tackles are set -- Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, Matt Toeaina. The Bears have two ends in Idonije and Chauncey Davis who can play on the inside and the team has generally gone with seven defensive linemen active on game day.

Emery did not indicate that he felt defensive tackle promised a lot from this point on.

The problem with the defensive line position in college free agency and in the draft, its very thin, so the numbers arent there, Emery said.

The Bears first wave of college free agent signings:

RB

Alvester Alexader, Wyoming

WR

Terriun Crump, Western Illinois
Britton Golden, West Texas A&M
Chris Summers, Liberty

OT

James Brown; Troy
A.J. Greene, Albany

DT

Ronnie Cameron. Old Dominion

LB

Adrien Cole, Louisiana Tech
Ronnie Thornton, Southern Mississippi

S

Trevor Coston, Maine
Jeremy Jones, Wayne State

Honda Road Ahead: Blackhawks look to get back on track to close regular season

Honda Road Ahead: Blackhawks look to get back on track to close regular season

Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd break down the Blackhawks' upcoming schedule in the latest edition of the Blackhawks Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda dealers.

There are less than two weeks left in the NHL regular season and teams are jockeying for playoff seeding.

The Blackhawks have the best record in the Western Conference with 103 points. The Blackhawks' next two opponents, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Columbus Blue Jackets, also have 103 points. Washington leads the league with 106 points.

Wednesday the Hawks will travel to Pittsburgh. Two days later they host the Blue Jackets.

After that, the Blackhawks take on the Boston Bruins on Sunday. Boston is in line for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

"There's no easy games from here on out." Konroyd said in the video. "Even teams on the outside, looking in are playing for contracts next year."

Watch the video above to see Boyle and Konroyd discuss the upcoming matchups for the Blackhawks.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks lose to Lightning in OT

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks lose to Lightning in OT

Here are some of Monday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Blackhawks blow three-goal lead, fall in OT at Lightning

How Cubs came to fully believe in the legend of Kyle Schwarber

White Sox agree to trade outfielder Peter Bourjos

Bulls Talk Podcast: March is Nikola Mirotic's month

Raiders-to-Vegas the latest in long line of NFL relocation drama, some of which included the Bears

Why Cubs fandom was inescapable in covering the greatest story in sports

Derek Holland ends spring on strong note as White Sox down Dodgers

Ex-Bear Brandon Marshall an early favorite at NFL owners meetings

Increased velocity has improved Anthony Swarzak's chances of making White Sox bullpen

Cubs will have Ian Happ one phone call away at Triple-A Iowa