Bears’ first depth chart lists surprise starters heading into preseason opener
It’s unofficial, but the depth chart released Tuesday wasn’t just pulled out of thin air. It provides a glimpse into how coach Matt Nagy views the roster.
The Bears’ first depth chart of the season featured a few surprises and several injury replacements as the team prepares for its preseason opener against the Dolphins on Saturday.
Among the most uncertain position battles, second-year cornerback Kindle Vildor was a first-stringer over veteran Desmond Trufant. That spot is opposite top corner Jaylon Johnson. That’s major progress for Vildor, who was a fifth-round pick out of Georgia Southern and got just 13% of the defensive snaps last season.
Seventh-round draft pick Khyiris Tonga is the starting nose tackle until Eddie Goldman returns from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Nonetheless, he is ahead of eighth-year vet Mike Pennel.
Coach Matt Nagy had no update on whether Goldman was doing well.
“I don’t know, honestly,” he said. “I have not talked to him. I suppose so. I would have heard if not.”
Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn are the team’s top pass rushers at outside linebacker, but the second line is Jeremiah Attoachu and second-year player Trevis Gipson.
Until the Bears’ offensive line health improves, they’re going with Elijah Wilkinson at left tackle and Lachavious Simmons (a seventh-round pick last year) at right tackle. Rookie Teven Jenkins is expected to win the left tackle job, but has yet to practice because of a back injury. Veteran Germain Ifedi, a guard last season, is among the favorites to start at right tackle once he’s back from a hip flexor.
There’s no indication of when Jenkins could return. Nagy originally thought he’d miss about a week, but seemed to indicate Tuesday that Jenkins won’t be back anytime soon when he said his status would “probably be the same as where he was” a week ago.
Fifth-round pick Larry Borom, currently in the concussion protocol, was listed as the third-string left tackle.
At wide receiver, the team put newcomer Marquise Goodwin third behind Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney. Goodwin, 30, is coming off an opt-out season but has impressed the Bears throughout training camp.
Kmet thriving with Dalton
Second-year tight end Cole Kmet likes his chances of building off a strong rookie season with veteran Andy Dalton as his new starting quarterback. The duo is already off to a good start.
“I’m really clicking right now with Andy,” Kmet said. “I’m playing much faster than I was last year in terms of knowing the offense, seeing defenses correctly and all those things like that.
“You know when you win a route, the ball’s gonna be on you. That’s a good thing. There’s been some really good throws that [Dalton] has made to me in camp. Guys are fast in the league, and you’re gonna get covered up if you don’t get thrown the ball right away. Andy knows that, and his timing has been really awesome.”
Kmet had 28 catches for 243 yards and two touchdowns with Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles at quarterback last season.
The Bears added two starters to an already long list of injured players. Goodwin (bruised foot) and linebacker Danny Trevathan (sore knee) were out Tuesday.