Coverage Ace Given a Raw Deal

The Bears tend to put a priority on special teams, but they still cut Tim Shaw. All Shaw did was set a club record with 30 special-teams tackles in 2009. Maybe these players should have been cut first:

Todd Collins

It made perfect sense for the front office to guarantee Collins some money to come to training camp and finish out the exhibition schedule following the shoulder injury to Caleb Hanie, as playing three preseason games with only rookie Dan LeFevour and journeyman Matt Gutierrez behind starter Jay Cutler would have been nuts. But the coaching staff has gone out of its way to praise Hanie, even offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who knew nothing about him when he came to Chicago, and indications suggest Hanie will be fine come Week 1. However, now that the Bears have decided to keep three quarterbacks instead of two, that means Hanie will be a game-day inactive and one less player that could have suited up – like jettisoned special-teams ace Tim Shaw – ends up on the cutting-room floor instead.

Kellen Davis

When Martz got the job, story after story was written about what the Bears were going to do with Greg Olsen since the tight end hasn't been much of an offensive threat in Martz's scheme. But here we are months later and ready for the regular season to get started, and four tight ends made the 53-man roster, although part of that decision stems from no traditional fullbacks making the cut and veteran Desmond Clark now being classified as an H-back. Still, Davis is much more of a receiver than a blocker, so the wideout-friendly Martz shouldn't need another pass-catching tight end to play with since he already has Olsen, and even though Davis does have a role on special teams, he's not as productive as Shaw proved to be in 2009.

Henry Melton

There was a lot of pressure put on second-year pros Melton and Jarron Gilbert heading into training camp this year, as both were raw defensive linemen still learning their respective positions, both contributed next to nothing as rookies and both are a reflection of general manager Jerry Angelo's recent failures in the NFL Draft – Melton was a fourth rounder, Gilbert was a third rounder. Gilbert was justifiably pink-slipped, and even though Melton survived by the skin of his teeth, he doesn't deserve playing time over either Matt Toeaina or Marcus Harrison and likely won't dress on game day when everyone is healthy. But if Melton's upside was too tempting to give up on just yet, then maybe Harrison should have been deep-sixed since he looks to be another underachieving choice in Round 3.

LB Tim Shaw
Justin K. Aller/Getty

Joshua Moore

The Bears have been wishy-washy on who will be their No. 3 corner behind Zack Bowman and Charles Tillman, but it's either going to be fourth-year pro Corey Graham – he seems to have lost the nickel back job to D.J. Moore – or free-agent addition Tim Jennings. While Joshua Moore showed some promise in training camp, he didn't make much of an impact during the preseason and may require a year of seasoning. If a 2009 third-round pick like Juaquin Iglesias can pass through waivers unclaimed by the other 31 teams in the league, then no doubt a rookie fifth rounder like Moore could have been cut and then brought back as a member of the eight-man practice squad.

Garrett Wolfe

Just like Shaw has proven to be totally ineffective on defense, at least in this system, Wolfe has also proven to be totally ineffective on offense, no matter the system. Both Shaw and Wolfe have been indispensible components on special teams, with Shaw routinely making tackles on the coverage units and Wolfe handling important duties like being Brad Maynard's personal protector on the punt team – Wolfe wasn't on the field for any of the three punts Maynard had blocked this preseason. The coaching staff may very well have had to choose between Shaw and Wolfe for the 53rd spot on the roster, and although Shaw can possibly be replaced by a better linebacker like Brian Iwuh, consideration should have been given to the fact that the 5-7, 186-pound Wolfe has missed 11 games since 2008 because of injury.

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John Crist is the Publisher of, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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