Hoge: Breaking Down The Bears’ 53-Man Roster
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By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) The Bears made their final cuts Friday to reduce the roster to 53 players. They can sign eight players to the practice squad Saturday.
Here’s a look at who got cut and who’s left at each position:
Cut: Josh McCown
Who’s left: Jay Cutler and Jason Campbell. The Bears will go with just two quarterbacks. Some might worry about this given last year, but remember, if the Bears had had a suitable backup for Cutler, they wouldn’t have needed three quarterbacks. Matt Blanchard, an undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin-Whitewater, is likely to sign with the practice squad after a good camp with the Bears. He’ll run the scout team.
MORE: Bears Depth Chart
Running Back (3)
Cut: Armando Allen
Who’s left: Matt Forte, Michael Bush and Lorenzo Booker. Booker wins the battle for the third running back spot. He’ll likely contribute in the kick return game too. Allen was added to the practice squad and will provide some depth.
Wide Receiver (6)
Cut: Rashied Davis, Joe Anderson, Terriun Crump
Who’s left: Brandon Marshall, Earl Bennett, Devin Hester, Alshon Jeffery, Eric Weems and Dane Sanzenbacher. This is as deep a receiving group as we’ve ever seen with the Bears. When Davis re-signed with the Bears, most assumed he would make the team because of his special teams skills, but he didn’t look like the same guy when he got out on the practice field. Sanzenbacher will contribute more in the passing game — Cutler likes him a lot — and has improved on special teams. Anderson was the next closest to making the team and was added to the practice squad.
Tight End/Fullback (4)
Traded: Tyler Clutts
Who’s left: Kellen Davis, Matt Spaeth, Evan Rodriguez and Kyle Adams. This is another clear sign that Mike Martz is gone. Clutts was a valuable fullback, but Mike Tice likes his tight ends and Adams is more versatile as a blocker and receiver. You’ll see these guys lineup as blockers in the backfield plenty. The only concern? The run blocking was poor all preseason and Clutts could be missed in that area.
Offensive Line (8)
Cut: Cory Brandon, James Brown, A.J. Greene, Ricky Henry
Who’s left: J’Marcus Webb, Chris Spencer, Roberto Garza, Lance Louis, Gabe Carimi, Chilo Rachal, Chris Williams and Edwin Williams. For a team with offensive line issues, the Bears decided to keep just eight players. This surprises me as I thought undrafted free agent James Brown impressed enough to stick. He was added to the practice squad so could still contribute if needed.
Defensive Line (9)
Cut: Chauncey Davis. Jordan Miller, Aston Whiteside
Placed on suspended list: Nate Collins
Who’s left: Julius Peppers, Stephen Paea, Henry Melton, Israel Idonije, Shea McClellin, Matt Toeaina, Cory Wootton, Cheta Ozougwu and Brian Price. This group will likely change, possibly as soon as Saturday. Amobi Okoye is reportedly expected to sign with the Bears, which means another cut will have to be made. Collins doesn’t count toward the 53-man roster right now, which means another move will have to come after Week 1 as he serves his one week suspension.
Cut: Jabara Williams, Xavier Adibi
Who’s left: Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Nick Roach, Geno Hayes, Blake Costanzo, J.T. Thomas, Patrick Trahan. A back injury cost Thomas last year, but he showed potential in the preseason. Trahan did enough to make the team and will be a key special teams player. These guys are important as there is a ton of turnover on special teams this season.
Cut: Jonathan Wilhite, Isaiah Frey, Greg McCoy, Cornelius Brown
Who’s left: Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, Kelvin Hayden, D.J. Moore, Sherrick McManis. The Bears traded Clutts to Houston for McManis, a former standout at Northwestern. Wilhite appeared to fall out of favor early and Frey and McCoy never looked like reliable corners. McManis will be a big special teams contributor.
Cut: Mark LeGree
Who’s left: Major Wright, Chris Conte, Craig Steltz, Anthony Walters, Jeremy Jones. Walters and Jones benefit from the injuries at an already weak position. Brandon Hardin is on injured reserve.
Special Teams (4)
Traded: Tyler Clutts.
Who’s left: Robbie Gould, Adam Podlesh, Ryan Quigley, Patrick Mannelly. Clutts was the backup longsnapper, but you only need one of those. The big news here is that Quigley is still with the team and the Bears will carry two punters for now with Podlesh hurt. It’s still possible for them to bring someone else in, but Quigley looks capable. He’ll also continue to serve as the holder.
Adam is the Sports Editor for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.