What Is Left to Accomplish?

The preseason finale will be used for several purposes. Some players need the extra work in preparation for the start of the season, while others are looking for one more chance to prove they deserve a spot on the roster.

Kyle Orton will get his first start with the Bears tonight and although it won't count in the record books there is significance to his performance.

"Just consistency and efficiency running the offense, which he's done up to this point, so really just what he's done," offensive coordinator Ron Turner said of what he wants to see from Orton. "Like to see him get in with the first group and continue where he's been all preseason and continue to get a little bit better."

Orton has just two series of game experience with the first team offense and will only play about a quarter against the Browns.

The Bears can talk all they want about Orton getting a chance to go up against a great defense everyday in practice, but he won't be wearing an orange jersey that will signal the opposing pass rush not to put a hit on the six-foot-4, 223-pounder.

Although the Cleveland defense isn't filled with big names, the unit has been opportunistic with eight sacks and five interceptions through three games.

A duplication of what Orton has done against second and third string talent would ease the concerns of opening the season with a rookie quarterback. He has a 92.3 passer rating heading into the preseason finale.

Jeff Blake will open the season as Orton's backup, but he's thrown just six passes in two preseason appearances. He will play the majority of the game vs. Cleveland and will need to take advantage of the reps.

"Once the regular season starts the only person that practices is the starter," Blake said. "I don't get any reps. The backups don't get any reps once the season starts.

"I might get one or two reps during the week but that's about it."

And the Winner Is…
The Bears have yet to decide who will lineup opposite Muhsin Muhammad on Sept. 11. Bernard Berrian has had a better preseason than Justin Gage, but his production has tailed off the last two games.

Despite the fact that Terrence Metcalf has started all four games at right guard, Roberto Garza is still being considered for the job.

While there are no starting spots jobs up for grabs on defense, there are reserve roles still to be determined.

"We would like to get another look at some of the players who are on the bubble right now," said head coach Lovie Smith. "So there will be a simple game plan that we'll use as we want the guys to be able to go out there and play and hopefully we can see something from a few more guys."

The toughest decisions will come on a deep defensive line. The development of Darrell Campbell could force the team to keep five defensive tackles on the 53-man roster. Even though Shurron Pierson and Greg White are quicker off the edge than Michael Haynes or Israel Idonije, they're both in need of big games to have any chance of making the team.

The Bears could also consider searching the waiver wire for additional help as the final cuts come in over the weekend.

"We'll just look to see exactly how they compare with the guys that we have," Smith said. "Basically they're guys at the bottom of the depth chart. How do they compare? If we think there's a player better than who we're keeping on our team right now, we'll go with it. I don't expect a lot of that to happen, but if there's someone that we know about and we feel like he's better than we have we'll make a move."


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