Since the Bears starters most likely won't play, this match-up post will focus on 2nd and 3rd string players and what they need to do to earn a spot on the 53 or PS with the Bears or another club (Check out Mike Mueller blog on 53-man roster odds). For example, a guy like Juaquin Iglesias would need this game to ensure a spot on the 53-man roster. Todd Collins can become the #2 QB with a strong showing, and Jarron Gilbert needs a really good performance to make the coaches think about keeping him around. These are just 3 of many players on the team that will be fighting for either a spot on the roster or a bump up the depth chart.
QB's Todd Collins and Dan Lefevour vs. Cleveland 2nd and 3rd string defense.
The Bears want Caleb Hanie to be the back-up behind Jay Cutler, but Todd Collins can cement the back-up spot with a strong showing today. What I want to see from Collins is for him to move the offense down the field, and give players like Iglesias and Matthews a chance to make plays and put together good tape for the coaches to evaluate. What Lefevour needs to show today is that he can accurately throw the football in the short passing game. He improved last weekend against the Cards, but he needs to show Martz consistency in that department. If Lefevour plays a good game, the Bears coaches will have a decision to make between him and Collins.
FB Eddie Williams
The Bears will most likely not carry a traditional full back on the team unless Olsen is traded before the season opener, but Eddie Williams has a chance to give them a reason to keep a full back on the roster. Before he went down, Will Ta'ufo'ou was getting a lot of looks at FB with the 1st team offense which indicates that there is a spot for the full back on this roster. Eddie Williams will have to show the coaches that he can be an effective in line blocker. We know he can receive out of the backfield, but he needs to show that he can also block.
OL Johan Asiata, James Marten and JaMarcus Webb vs. Cleveland 2nd and 3rd string Defensive linemen.
For Asiata, life comes at you fast. I remember when he was being annointed as the answer at LG leading up to training camp. Tice must have come to the conclusion that Asiata needs more work to be done as far as technique is concerned. James Marten might have the edge on Asiata since he can fill in at both tackle and guard. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Beekman is the surprise cut, and they keep Johan Asiata on the roster, but I don't know how comfortable they are with Garza at Center if Kreutz were to go down. No way Webb lasts on the practice squad, but at the same time you want to see a good showing from him so he can build on that going into next season.
WR Juaquin Iglesias and Greg Matthews vs. Cleveland 2nd and 3rd string defensive backs.
The quad injury that Iglesias suffered during training camp really hurt him from moving up to that 4th spot at WR. This will be a good chance for him to go out there, put up a good showing, and force the coaches to give him more playing time. Greg Matthews will most likely not make the team, but he needs to make plays out there and show the Bears and the other 31 teams that he can play in this league. If not ours, he will end up on someone else's practice squad after tonight's game.
DE Jarron Gilbert and Cory Wootten vs. Cleveland 2nd and 3rd string Offensive Tackles.
Gilbert played well this past weekend against the Cardinals and he will need another strong showing tonight against the Browns. Angelo doesn't want to cut Gilbert after one season, and the coaches will give him every chance to make the roster in tonight's game. Corey Wootten pretty much is safe to make the team, but he might get the Gilbert treatment this season where he will be inactive for most games. A year in the weight room and Marinelli teaching him different ways to get to the QB will do him good.
DT Marcus Harrison and Henry Melton vs. Cleveland 2nd and 3rd string Guards.
Marcus Harrison could be a surprise cut for two reasons. 1. He hasn't shown much, not only in preseason, but throughout training camp. 2. Melton has performed well in the nickel packages (packages that Harrison is expected to be in this season). Harrison most likely will make the team, because he is the only tackle that can play the 3 technique outside Tommie Harris. Melton just needs to keep showing that burst off the line of scrimmage. The Bears will use his speed during the season in nickel packages to get a good pass rush on QB's.
CB's Cory Graham and Joshua Moore vs. Cleveland 2nd and 3rd String Receivers.
Both guys will make the team, but we don't know where on the depth chart they will be placed. Joshua Moore has been a surprise during training camp and preseason, displaying good man to man coverage skills. He needs to have another good showing against the Browns for the coaches to consider bumping him up the depth chart.
Safeties Al Afalava and Quentin Scott vs. Cleveland Passing Offense and Run Attack
The writing is on the wall for Al Afalava, as he's likely to not make this team. The best he can do is put together a good showing for other ball clubs and hope they take notice. Quentin Scott is an interesting prospect at 6'3 220 pounds. He can play both safety positions which is a good asset to have in this defense since both FS and SS are interchangeable positions. Scott also will not make the roster as the Bears will most likely keep 5 safeties, but Scott has a great chance to land on the practice squad. He needs to show the coaches tonight that he can make plays on the ball and be an effective in-the-box safety.