Bears Week 1 depth chart pic.twitter.com/pP0WMTgq7o
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) September 5, 2023
Other than that, there aren’t many surprises among the starters. Cody Whitehair is back at left guard with Teven Jenkins on IR. Lucas Patrick will be Chicago’s starting center and newcomer Dan Feeney will be Patrick’s backup.
The decision to promote Peterman over Bagent is surprising but not unexpected. Nothing was promised to the undrafted free agent from Shepherd University, but Ryan Poles did text Bagent and asked him to be an asset to Fields. NFL stars like Tyreek Hill (West Alabama), and Adam Thielen (Minnesota State) have proven that Division II players can thrive in this league. But it’s rare for a D-II quarterback to find that success. He’s still on the roster, and he’ll see the field if an opportunity presents itself.
The rest of the roster shakes out pretty much as expected. Rookie Darnell Wright will start at right tackle opposite Braxton Jones. Nate Davis will man the right guard spot. Whitehair will presumably return to center once Jenkins is healthy. Khalil Herbert will be the starting running back, as expected, and he’s followed by D’Onta Foreman and Roschon Johnson on the depth chart.
Johnson is an intriguing back who impressed the coaches all summer. The Bears intend to run with a three-headed monster at the position, so Johnson will get his touches. Herbert has been underrated all summer by many Bears fans. Here’s what I wrote about Herbert in my analysis of Chicago’s backfield:
“Herbert was, in fact, better than David Montgomery last year in every single rushing metric. He rushed for 70 yards less than Montgomery but he also carried the ball 72 fewer times. Had Herbert not gotten hurt in a Week 10 tilt with the Lions, there was a non-zero chance he would have completely usurped Montgomery as the team’s lead back. Johnson’s going to be good, but Bears fans, including me, need to stop overlooking Herbert.”
The receiving corps has been locked in place since the Bears acquired D.J. Moore from the Panthers. Moore, Darnell Mooney, and Chase Claypool are listed as the starters. Equanimeous St. Brown, Velus Jones, and Tyler Scott are Chicago’s backups. Cole Kmet will start at tight end, but Matt Eberflus and Luke Getsy will use a lot of two-tight end sets this season. Expect to see a lot of Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis.
The Bears allowed opponents to score at will last season, but the defense is much improved this year. DeMarcus Walker, Justin Jones, Andrew Billings, and Yannick Ngakoue make up Chicago’s front four. T.J. Edwards, Tremaine Edmunds, and Jack Sanborn are the starting linebackers.
Kyler Gordon and Jaylon Johnson are the starting corners, but rookies Tyrique Stevenson and Terrell Smith will get opportunities, too. The Bears have eight rookies who are starting or listed as primary backups. That includes Noah Sewell, Zacch Pickens, and Gervon Dexter Sr. in addition to Wright, Johnson, Scott, Stevenson, and Smith.
The Bears lack depth at safety, so cross your fingers that Eddie Jackson and Jaquan Brisker stay healthy. Elijah Hicks and Quindell Johnson are the only backups. Brisker has been hurting but intends to play on Sunday. He even offered Packers fans some billboard material.
“People hate Green Bay. I hate Green Bay.”
Chicago Bears safety Jaquan Brisker is looking forward to Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) September 4, 2023