Two preseason games in, and while the starting lineup is rounding into shape (except for the offensive line), things seem to be clear as mud at the bottom of the roster. There are a lot of interesting battles going on at the end of the roster (as there always is), but with two preseason games left it's time to take a shot at projecting the final fifty-three man roster. Hit the jump to look at my roster predictions, which are the selections that I think Lovie and company will make, not necessarily who I would keep. Be sure to include your commentary on the choices and your own roster guesses in the comments section. And remember, if you fanpost your own fifty-three man roster prediction, Kev will send you a stern email and cock back his banhammer (trust me, you don't want that).
Fifty-Three Man Roster
QB's in (3) - Jay Cutler, Jason Campbell, Josh McCown
QB's out - Blanchard
Reasoning: I know the Blanch-man looked decent last game, but I really don't expect Lovie and company to gamble with the third-string QB position after two straight years of finishing the season without Cutler. Blanchard goes (hopefully) to the practice squad.
RB's in (3) - Matt Forte, Michael Bush, Armando Allen
RB's out - Kahlil Bell, Lorenzo Booker, Harvey Unga
Reasoning: The third (and potentially fourth) running back spot is a threeway race between Allen, Bell, and Booker. Allen is cheap and more of a change-of-pace complement to Forte and Bush, which is why I'm giving the spot to him at this point. Booker's great kick return touchdown makes him a hard cut, but I feel like there's enough return depth without him. Bell is a bit pricey for a third string running back and really just hasn't done much this preseason. Unga needs and deserves no comment.
FB/TE's in (4) - Kellen Davis, Matt Spaeth, Evan Rodriguez, Tyler Clutts
TE's out - Kyle Adams
Reasoning: I'm gambling that an offense that wants to be heavy run-oriented needs to keep blockers like Clutts and Spaeth around. Adams is a nice young project that can move around, but he's essentially been replaced in that role by Rodriguez.
WR's in (5) - Brandon Marshall, Earl Bennett, Devin Hester, Alshon Jeffery, Eric Weems
WR's out - Johnny Knox, Dane Sanzenbacher, Rashied Davis, Terriun Crump, Brittan Golden, etc.
Reasoning: The injuries at safety and linebacker mean an increased look at depth at those spots, and I think Tice is pushing to keep blockers since we still don't know what the offensive line is going to look like. Knox will likely go from PUP to IR and sit out the season, which is probably the smart thing to do. I won't be surprised if it goes six, though, and if that's the case I think Davis gets that spot.
OL in (9) - Gabe Carimi, J'Marcus Webb, Chris Williams, Roberto Garza, Chilo Rachal, Chris Spencer, Edwin Williams, James Brown, Lance Louis
OL out - Cory Brandon, Ricky Henry, A.J. Greene
Reasoning: Brown won't make it to the practice squad, so he has to be kept. Spencer could be a casualty with another poor performance, but I don't know if keeping Brandon or Henry would really be worth it.
DE's in (5) - Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije, Cory Wootton, Shea McClellin, Chauncey Davis
DE's out - Thaddeus Gibson, Cheta Ozougwu, Derek Walker, Aston Whiteside
Reasoning: I'm keeping Wootton as a member of the opening day roster even though I doubt he survives the season healthy, and Davis beats out Gibson for the fifth spot (which I think they need to have with Wootton's injury history).
DT's in (5) - Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, Matt Toeaina, Nate Collins, Brian Price
DT's out - John McCargo, DeMario Pressley, Jordan Miller
Reasoning: I think this is the safest positional guess to make; Lovie always keeps a lot of defensive lineman, and both Collins and Price bring solid depth to the table.
LB's in (6) - Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Geno Hayes, J.T. Thomas, Nick Roach, Blake Costanzo
LB's out - Dom DeCicco, Robbie Thornton, Patrick Trahan, Jabara Williams, etc.
Reasoning: I actually expect seven guys to be kept, but couldn't make another cut to balance out the roster. I think Thomas, DeCicco, Trahan, and Williams are in a close race, but give the slight edge to Thomas. If the Bears keep another 'backer, I'm guessing its DeCicco (and Williams gets the phantom IR).
CB's in (5) - Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, DJ Moore, Kelvin Hayden, Greg McCoy
CB's out - Isiah Frey, Jonathan Wilhite
Reasoning: The first four guys are locks, but the fifth spot comes down to McCoy and Frey. I think McCoy could get it for his return abilities, but that race is close.
Safeties in (5) - Brandon Hardin, Major Wright, Chris Conte, Craig Steltz, Anthony Walters
Safeties out - Trevor Coston
Reasoning: Hardin's status is up in the air so Walters gets brought back again. Don't be surprised if the Bears make another move like last year (Meriwether signing) before the season starts to strengthen the unit.
Special Teams in (3) - Robbie Gould, Adam Podlesh, Patrick Mannelly
Special Teams out - Ryan Quigley
Reasoning: You really need any?