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Monday, August 16, 2010
Depth concerns after preseason Week 1

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Occasionally, a preseason injury -- or even a scare -- can cast light on a depth concern we haven't previously addressed. I thought a number of those situations jumped out in the NFC North's first preseason weekend, so let's take them one a time.

(Before anyone gets all worked up, I didn't include the Minnesota Vikings in this post because they didn't suffer any significant injuries or scares Saturday night at St. Louis. After all, they were already without nearly a dozen starters and other prominent players.)

Chicago Bears
Position:
Quarterback
The injury: No. 2 quarterback Caleb Hanie suffered a right shoulder injury and had his arm in a sling Saturday night. His status is uncertain.
What it revealed: Other than Hanie, the Bears have no one on their roster they should feel comfortable with as a backup to starter Jay Cutler. Because of the complexity of his offense, coordinator Mike Martz has been limiting quarterback repetitions to Cutler and Hanie for most of camp. Rookie Dan LeFevour has gotten little work. If Hanie is sidelined for an extensive period of time, the Bears might have to seek a veteran with familiarity in Martz's scheme.

Detroit Lions
Position:
Linebacker
The injury: Middle linebacker Jordon Dizon suffered what is believed to be a season-ending knee injury.
What it revealed: Presumed starter DeAndre Levy has missed most of training camp because of a back injury, and Dizon had recently replaced Vinny Ciurciu as the top backup. Dizon, in fact, started Saturday night at Pittsburgh. It's pretty clear the Lions don't have another player they trust with the position until Levy returns.

Green Bay Packers
Position:
Running back
The injury:
Tailback Ryan Grant stumbled off the field with a head injury after his third carry. The injury is believed to be minor.
What it revealed:
Grant hasn't missed a game since the Packers made him their full-time starter midway through the 2007 season, and the Packers clearly are counting on him exclusively. Their official depth chart lists Brandon Jackson as their backup and Kregg Lumpkin as the No. 3 tailback. Rookie James Starks, a sixth-round draft choice, remains on the physically unable to perform list. The Packers have continued their annual pump-up of Jackson, but to this point he remains a career backup. Consider it this way: How much different would the Packers' offense be without Grant?