The Bears were shellacked by the New York Giants on Thursday night. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that almost every one of their regular season contributors was a healthy scratch, but it did raise more questions than answers about the back-of-the-roster battles that have been raging on since late July.
It also gave us some – but not final – clarity on the ongoing kicker situation.
The favorite for that job is clear, at least for now, but same cannot be said about many other spots on the roster. Here is my complete prediction after Week Two of the preseason.
Week Two 53-Man Roster Projection (Changes from last week in Italics)
Kicker: Eddy Piñeiro
Punter: Pat O’Donnell
Long Snapper: Patrick Scales
The Bears are entertaining multiple battles for the last few spots on the 53-man roster, so naturally Twitter didn’t agree with every one of my predictions when I tweeted out the projected roster. Here are more detailed thoughts on a few of the more common questions, comments, and concerns that I received.
This is the most surprising omission to my list, but one that when you think about it isn’t actually that surprising at all. In three years, he hasn’t shown any signs whatsoever of being able to turn his excellent burst off the line of scrimmage into actual production. Beyond that first step, which really only shows up once a game, if that, he has no real NFL-caliber skills as a defensive lineman.
This preseason, without Hicks or Goldman by his side, Bullard has been a straight-up liability. He’s been outplayed by Williams, who can fill in at nose unlike the Florida man. In this mock, the Bears cut their losses and say goodbye to a third-round pick that just didn’t pan out.
With the preseason performance of Wims and the promise of Ridley, many fans in my mentions were eager to cut Hall in favor of an extra TE, an extra DB, or even someone like Gentry (hard no on that last one). I see that argument, but I think Hall has played well enough as a receiver and showcased enough speed to be worth a spot. If Tyler Bray didn’t exist, he’d have at least two touchdowns in two weeks thus far.
He also has a reputation as an asset on special teams. In the end, that’s really why he makes the team.
Trust me, I’m as big a fan of him – specifically his name – as anyone. If he makes another play next week like his diving goal-line interception (which was forced in part by Vaughters, who came out of nowhere to earn a spot on my list) in New York, I’ll probably kick Gentry off the practice squad and add Quack Attack.
That being said, Duck is still small and not very fast, and he didn’t look great against Carolina. He’s going to have to go all out in attempting to display a superb nose for the football in these last two weeks, in order to convince Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy that he’s worth keeping around.
Calls for Iyiegbuniwe’s head ran rampant in my replies when I tweeted out the roster, along with much of the same for Kwiatkoski. Woods has many fans who would like to see him make the 53 after a forced fumble against Carolina and solid play last week.
Long story short – no one is picking up Woods off of waivers and I don’t think they give up on “Iggy” just yet. However, I’m not remotely comfortable with the former fourth rounder as the Bears’ first inside linebacker off the bench. The continuing good health (Knock. On. Wood.) of Trevathan and Smith could not be more crucial than it is right now, because putting in Kwiatkoski, Iyiegbuniwe, Woods, or Pierre-Louis could result in disaster.