The Chicago Bears finished the preseason 3-1 after tonight’s 24-0 victory over the Cleveland Browns. It was a strong finishing contest during which Chicago’s backups overpowered and out-hustled Cleveland’s second and third stringers.
While the Bears lack depth at crucial positions, the performance of the club’s backups as a group has been exceptional. In fact, Chicago’s defense did not allow a single touchdown in the second half of the four preseason contests.
While the starters have struggled, it’s good to know there is talent on the back half of the roster.
Jobs were won and lost in the finale, as the Bears will trim the roster from 75 players down to 53 by 3 p.m. Saturday. Here are the players whose performance tonight may have earned them a place on the opening-day roster and those who failed to capitalize on their bid for a roster spot.
The Bears signed Zac Dysert this week to compete for the third quarterback job, which seemingly lit a fire under Fales, who completed 14 of 18 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns. His second scoring pass was a thing of beauty, lobbing an over-the-shoulder throw to the back corner of the end zone as a defender was dragging him to the ground. Fales did everything he could to retain his role as the club’s developmental signal caller.
Carey rushed 12 times for 68 yards (5.7 avg.), which included a 22-yard run during which he broke three tackles. He might still end up the odd man out in the backfield but Carey put some good work on film today, running with passion and power, and should get picked up by another NFL team.
Jon Bostic (ankle) is hurt again, so Timu got the start alongside Mason Foster with the second team. Timu responded with three tackles and a sack, as well as a special-teams tackle. He was a part of three special-teams units last week, so Timu tonight likely solidified one of the final roster spots.
Anderson was Chicago’s MVP, racking up five tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble, as well as a special-teams tackle. At the very least, Anderson has earned a spot on the practice squad.
Martin intercepted a third-quarter pass, aggressively undercutting a crossing route, and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. Martin is battling Demontre Hurst for the fourth and final safety spot and may have done enough to win that competition.
Williams was a force at nose tackle. He two-gapped with ease and did a great job of shedding blocks at the point of attack. Williams finished the night with four tackles, two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit. He needed a strong outing to lock up the final defensive line spot and Williams may have done just that.
Washington had a strong chase and tackle for loss on a stretch play early in the game but overall, he was very ineffective against the run and provided little pressure on passing downs. He still has value on special teams but it doesn’t appear Washington has much of a future at 5-technique.
In spite of his potential, Bass is buried on the depth chart and needed to explode in this game to have any chance of making the final 53. He ended with just one tackle and only one QB pressure, which just wasn’t enough.
The Bears are banged up at receiver and Lawrence failed to capitalize on the opportunity, finishing with just one catch for 11 yards. He’s still in the mix for one of the final receiver spots but Lawrence did very little to help himself tonight.
Ducasse worked at right guard for almost the entire game. The Bears clearly wanted to see what they have in Ducasse, whom they will likely plug in at right guard with the starters if Kyle Long slides to right tackle. Yet Ducasse’s performance did little to inspire confidence in his interior ability. He was inconsistent all night and then picked up back-to-back penalties – holding and a false start – in the third quarter. Ducasse will likely enter the season as the swing guard but he appears to be a short-term option.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fifth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.