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Other position battles to watch during Bears’ preseason opener

In addition to Tim Jennings and Zack Bowman’s battle at cornerback, there are other competitions to keep an eye on during the Bears’ preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.

WR | Roy Williams vs. Johnny Knox

Both figure to play regardless of who ‘‘wins’’ the competition. Williams is a wild card who loves Mike Martz’s offense. Knox was the Bears’ leading receiver last year but might benefit from the competition. A year ago, he was ahead of Rashied Davis at this position.

RB | Chester Taylor vs. Marion Barber

There might be room for Matt Forte, Taylor and Barber on the roster, but there are only so many carries to go around. Taylor is eager to prove he’s better than what he showed last season. But Barber’s hard-nosed style might prove to be a better complement to Forte.

C | Roberto Garza vs. Chris Spencer

Officially, this isn’t a competition because Garza is getting all the first-team reps. But ­Spencer started 70 games in the last five seasons for the Seahawks, and he’s making $3 million a year. Garza was a center in college, but he has started just one game there in the NFL.

RG | Lance Louis vs. Roberto Garza

The Bears handed Louis the starting right guard job last year and moved Garza to left guard, but Louis was benched after four games in favor of Edwin Williams. Louis looks improved this season, but if Spencer becomes the better option at center, Garza’s best position is right guard.

RT | Gabe Carimi vs. Frank Omiyale

Carimi, the Bears’ first-round draft pick, has been working with the first team since the third practice. But he’s still a rookie who had no offseason preparation. He could face Ray Edwards (eight sacks in 2010), Clay Matthews (131/2) and Charles Johnson (111/2) in the first month of the season.

DT | Henry Melton/Matt Toeaina vs. Amobi Okoye

The unheralded Melton has been nearly unblockable from the 3-technique position in practice. Toeaina is steady and versatile. But Okoye, a top-10 pick who was a disappointment in four years as a starter with the Texans, could be a factor once he gets the hang of the defense.



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