Final Prediction of 53-Man Roster

The Bears have a couple of tough decisions ahead of them, but surprisingly the hardest will be trying to decide what defensive linemen to carry on the 53-man roster.

Quarterback (3): Starter -- Rex Grossman. Backups -- Jonathan Quinn, Craig Krenzel
No surprises here. Grossman will play the entire season unless he's injured or the coaching staff feels they want to bring in one of the backups in a one-sided affair.

RB: (5): Thomas Jones, Bryan Johnson, Anthony Thomas, Adrian Peterson, Jason McKie
Jones came into training camp as the starter and his preseason performance has only enhanced his status. Thomas remains the top backup, but Peterson has secured a rosters spot with his 5.0 average per carry in three exhibition games. McKie can play both tailback and fullback and will make the team because of that versatility.

Brock Forsey had a decent camp and preseason, but couldn't match the production of Peterson. Rabih Abdullah is a special teams ace, which is the only reason for keeping him around. Johnson can fill that role and makes Abdullah expendable.

Wide Receiver: (6): Starters -- David Terrell, Bobby Wade. Backups -- Justin Gage, Bernard Berrian, Ahmad Merritt, Daryl Jones.
Trading Marty Booker opened up the door for the young receivers to get a chance. The team will still carry six receivers and Jones has probably moved ahead of Ahmad Merritt because of his ability to return kicks and be a contributor at wideout.

Tight End (3): Starter -- Desmond Clark. Backups -- Dustin Lyman, John Gilmore.
Clark missed the bulk of camp because of a hamstring pull, as did Gilmore. Lyman has stepped up in their absence and will get a fair share of time on the field during the season.

Gabe Reid's knee injury in the preseason finale could provide the Bears find a way to keep him by placing him on Injured Reserve.

Offensive Line (9): Starters – LT Qasim Mitchell, LG Ruben Brown, C Olin Kreutz, RG Mike Gandy, RT John Tait. Backups – T/G Aaron Gibson, T/G Steve Edwards, C/G Terrence Metcalf.
This is one of the areas the Bears are limited because they plan on keeping Rex Tucker on the roster even though he won't play until at least October. The backups can all play multiple positions, which should allow them to get by.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9): Starters -- LE Adewale Ogunleye, LT Bryan Robinson, RT Tommie Harris, RE Alex Brown. Backups – E Michael Haynes, T Alfonso Boone, T Terry Johnson, E Alain Kashama, E Israel Idonije.
This will be the hardest position to trim. Both Alain Kashama and Israel Idonije have impressed the coaching staff thus far. The Bears might try to sneak Kashama and Idonije on the practice squad, but that could be tough because they've played well throughout the preseason. In the end the fact that Idonije can play both end and tackle will prove valuable enough to keep on the active roster and Kashama could be a situational pass rusher. Newly acquired Shurron Pierson is now the player the Bears will try to sneak on the practice squad. Ian Scott doesn't fit the new defense and will become the third draft pick on the defensive line to be waived in less than a week.

LINEBACKERS (6): Starters -- SLB Joe Odom, MLB Brian Urlacher, WLB Lance Briggs. Backups – Marcus Reese, Hunter Hillenmeyer, Leon Joe.
Despite starting in the preseason finale, Bryan Knight is going to have a hard time making the team. Joe Odom's calf strain kept him out of the matchup with the Browns, but he should be healthy enough to play a week from today against Detroit. Keeping Knight would mean the Bears would have to put Marcus Reese on Injured Reserve.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (9): Starters -- CB Charles Tillman, CB R.W. McQuarters, FS Mike Brown, SS Mike Green. Backups -- S Bobby Gray, S Todd Johnson, CB Nathan Vasher, CB Todd McMillon.
With McQuarters out because of a hamstring pull the team will start the year with two cornerbacks that can't play taking up roster spots. Jerry Azumah is out until at least October as he recovers from surgery to repair a herniated disk. Cameron Worrell appears to be the odd man out. He's played well, but it comes down to a numbers game and Johnson is a better player and a fourth-round pick in 2003.

Specialists (3): LS Patrick Mannelly, K Paul Edinger, P Brad Maynard.
This group might have been the most secure throughout training camp. The Bears are happy with the trio and should be for quite some time.

Practice Squad
QB Ryan Dinwiddie
G Bryan Anderson
DE Shurron Pierson
DE Quinn Dorsey
LB Jeremy Cain
DB Alfonso Marshall
DB Vontez Duff


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