The Bears play their preseason finale against the Cleveland Browns. This game means a lot for players on the bubble, eh, Trumaine McBride, Henry Melton, Rashied Davis, Michael Gaines, and the list goes on. The Bears have to cut their roster down to 53 players from their current number of 75. Eight players will be put on the practice squad, so basically their only disposing of 14 players.
Here are my predictions with the 09-10 Bears 53-man roster:
QB (2): Jay Cutler, Caleb Hanie
The Bears have the starter they have been looking for in Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie looks to be improving as a quarterback. That being said I don’t think the Bears should keep Northwestern product Brett Basanez on the active roster, he just isn’t good enough.
RB (4): Matt Forte, Kevin Jones, Garrett Wolfe, Adrian Peterson
This decision will be very hard for the Bears. Of course they know what they have in Matt Forte and they have really been impressed by Kevin Jones this offseason, but Garrett Wolfe and Adrian Peterson have both been good on offense and on special teams this off-season. The Bears should keep four running backs instead of four tight ends, because Adrian Peterson gives you all hes got either running the ball or tackling on special teams plays.
FB (1): Jason McKie
The Bears don’t need two fullbacks on the starting roster. They should put Jason Davis on the practice squad just in case Jason McKie gets hurt.
WR (6): Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Devin Aromashodu, Johnny Knox, Juaquin Iglesias, Rashied Davis
Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and the two rookies Iglesias and Knox are sure locks in my mind. Then, you have three receivers fighting for two spots, the other Devin (Aromashodu), Rashied Davis and Brandon Rideau. If the Bears didn’t draft two receivers this year, Rideau would be a lock for the 53-man roster, but he is the odd man out. Aromashodu is a favorite of Cutler, so he is in and Davis stepped up last week on special teams, so he looks to be in. Many Bears fans want Rideau instead of Davis, but Davis is more experienced and probably more suitable for this team. Sorry Brandon I’m sure an NFL team wants you, if not will love to have you on our practice squad. This has to be the hardest decision made by the Bears coaching staff.
TE (3): Greg Olsen, Dez Clark, Kellen Davis
Greg Olsen is Cutlers favorite target and Dez Clark is still very good. They are one of the best tandems in the NFL. Kellen Davis looks to be a solid blocker and target on goal-line situations. Free agent acquisition Michael Gaines looks to be the odd man out, because he hasn’t showed much this preseason, plus I’d rather have four running backs than four tight ends.
Offensive line (8): Orlando Pace (LT), Frank Omiyale (LG), Olin Kreutz (C), Roberto Garza (RG), Chris Williams (RT), Kevin Shaffer (LT or RT), Josh Beekman (LG, RG or C), Dan Buenning (LG, RG or C)
Players like Johan Asiata, Lance Louis, Donovan Raiola and Cody Balogh are all destined for the practice squad.
Defensive line (10): Alex Brown, Anthony Adams, Tommie Harris, Adewale Ogunleye, Mark Anderson, Israel Idonije, Marcus Harrison, Jarron Gilbert, Matt Toeaina, Henry Melton
Because of Dusty Dvoraceks injury Matt Toeaina was able to make the roster. Fourth round pick Henry Melton has the edge over last years practice squaders Ervin Baldwin and Joe Clermond. If Tommie Harris can stay healthy this could be one of the best group of defensive lineman the Bears have had since 2006.
Linebackers (6): Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Pisa Tinoisamoa, Hunter Hillenmeyer, Nick Roach, Jamar Williams
The Bears added Pisa Tinoisamoa, who has been a fan favorite so far this preseason and Nick Roach and Jamar Williams are some of the best backups you can find. Then you have Hunter Hillenmeyer, who has currently the backup at MLB to Brian Urlacher, has been on the field with all three of the starters this preseason. Fifth round pick Marcus Freeman has looked solid this preseason, but should be put on the practice squad. Undrafted rookies Kevin Malast and Mike Rivera have been very good at times, but just can’t possibly make the active roster. Recently signed Darrell McClover was brought back to be the special team ace he was last season, but I don’t know if their is a spot for him on this years roster.
Defensive Backs (10): Charles Tillman, Zack Bowman, Danieal Manning, Kevin Payne, Nathan Vasher, D.J. Moore, Corey Graham, Rod Hood, Al Afalava, Josh Bullocks
Charles Tillman probably won’t be back for opening night, but they shouldn’t put him on the injured reserve because he should be back sooner than later. Recently added Rod Hood should be a lock to make the roster and Josh Bullocks should beat out second year man Craig Steltz because of his experience. Steltz was said to be the starter this off-season, but fell out of the starting role and he finds himself on the edge of the roster because of his lack of experience. Backups Trumaine McBride, Woodny Turenne, Marcus Hamilton, Rudy Burgess and Dahna Deleston all should be released.
Special teamers (3): Robbie Gould, Brad Maynard, Pat Mannelly
These guys are some of the best in the league, if not the best.
So what positions will be the hardest to make decisions at:
Wide receiver, safety, and linebacker are the most talented positions on this roster and that’s why they will be the spots where the coaches have the toughest decisions.