The Bears cut down their roster to 53 men on Saturday. Thursday night's game versus the Cleveland Browns is the last chance for some of these guys to make an impression on Lovie & company. Let's break it down with some percentages as to who's in and who's out.
Unless something really crazy happens between now & Saturday, Hanie & Collins will be QBs # 2 & 3 in some order. LeFevour probably makes it through waivers and on to the practice squad.
Running Backs (3):
Wolfe has not done enough in the backfield to make the team. Bell has. Wolfe is pretty good on special teams, but he's not so great that you keep an inferior running back on the roster.
Tight Ends (4):
Not much drama here.
Wide Receivers (6):
Does Earl Bennett end up on IR? If he can't go Thursday or does go & re-aggravates his injury then I think there is a very slight chance of it. With the Martzfense so WR friendly & needy, do the Bears really go to only 5 WRs? I don't see it. They keep 6, so Iglesias makes it.
Offensive Linemen (8):
The Bears have only kept 8 linemen each of the past 3 years. I do NOT see them taking 9 this year with so many holes and question marks on the defense plus the need for 3 QBs, 4 TEs, & 6 WRs. Either Marten or Asiata could probably get onto the practice squad. Neither has shown much in the preseason, so other teams probably will not scoop up either or both of them. Webb is a young, physically impressive tackle project. Unless there's a redshirt season coming, he's probably in.
TOTAL OFFENSIVE PLAYERS = 24
Defensive Linemen (9):
The defensive line is a confusing mess right now. There are 5 absolute locks. Toeaina & Harrison are near locks, but Toeaina has faded recently & Harrison hasn't exactly been all that great this preseason. There could be a surprise with one of these two. Management has hinted at only keeping 8, but Marinelli loves his defensive linemen (as do Lovie and Jerry). I think they keep 9. That means only one of the 3 (Wootton, Melton, Gilbert) gets cut, or has a sudden injury that lands them on IR. Wootton is the only one who is practice squad eligible, but probably won't make it through waivers unclaimed.
There are too many needs in the secondary to keep 2 special teams/reserve linebackers. I don't think they keep both. Hunter has solidified his roster spot. Roach is too good to cut, and can't be traded with his injury. Unless Dave Toub absolutely insists on it, I just don't see them keeping 7 linebackers.
With so many injuries at the position, I think the Bears have to keep 5. Once everyone gets healthy, I could see them cutting one in the season to get down to 4. I think they have to keep 5 going into their game vs. Detroit. Afalava has to pass Bullocks & Steltz to make the team. Do either of those two play Thursday? Do either of them get put on IR? Thursday should provide a lot of answers for this position.
I think the Bears have to keep 6 corners. There's just too much receiving firepower in the NFC North & the NFL. There's too many question marks in the secondary also. Nobody has shined; but D.J. Moore has looked pretty good. If the Bears do go to 5 CBs, then Jennings looks like the odd man out.
TOTAL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS = 26
- Last 5 in: Gilbert, Melton, Iwuh, Bullocks, Iglesias
- Last 5 out: Wootton (mysterious injury: on IR), Asiata, Shaw (my heart breaks), Afalava, Wolfe
That's my take.