A general manager never rests and Phil Emery proved that with another trade for the Chicago Bears. Given the concern around the defense could he make room on the roster for solid players like Andre Carter and Stephen Cooper?
Worries about Shea McClellin make Carter more attractive to Bears
It is way too early in training camp to say a player is a bust but in a season with such high expectations Bears fans and media can't help but keep a microscope on top draft pick Shea McClellin. Early signs in padded practices say the young Boise State product has speed and a high motor but has a bad tendency to get pushed around by big offensive linemen. It isn't what fans want to hear, especially since the Chicago offensive line isn't the strongest in the NFL. This might not become a problem if the team had plenty of help along the defensive front but they don't. Outside of Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije the team has a group of unknowns. That is why they drafted McClellin. They wanted him to fill the role as the third end for pass rushing downs. Unless he improves towards the regular season the Bears could see some trouble down the road. One way they could add some help is in free agency. Former Patriot Andre Carter is still available. Though 33 years old and coming off a quadriceps injury he did have 10 sacks last season without playing all sixteen games. If healthy the Bears could find him perfect to take pressure off McClellin and put it on the opposing quarterbacks.
Unknown health of Brian Urlacher means Cooper could add NFL depth
Outside of the line the last nitpick for Chicago Bears fans about their defense is health. The big one all wonder about is team leader and superstar Brian Urlacher. The eight-time Pro Bowl selection ended 2011 with a nasty-looking knee injury. Worse yet the team is taking a huge risk by not drafting any quality linebackers to put behind him. One more bad play and the Bears defense may lose their heart without anyone to take his place. It's already hard enough for fans to wonder about what will happen when the 34-year-old hits free agency next year. While offensive line is top priority for Emery and the front office, it's hard to think they aren't looking for some cheap help at linebacker too. One name that stays close to the top in some circles is former San Diego Chargers inside linebacker Stephen Cooper. While injury and age is a problem for him too, Cooper is a proven player with good range and tackling ability. His experience is just what Chicago would want if anything happened to Urlacher.
Worrying about Shea McClellin and Brian Urlacher is a common thing during NFL training camp. Bears fans have relied on defense for years and cringe at the first signs of trouble. There isn't any reason to think the unit will go bad, but if injuries become a problem than reliable veterans like Andre Carter or Stephen Cooper are good pickups.