The first roster cuts short of the NFL regular season are fast approaching. Every team has some hard (and easy) decisions to make. With the Chicago Bears the battles are heating up. Which names are in and which are out?
In: Eben Britton
Essentially the team likely will want to carry three or four tackles on the roster with two starters, a swing tackle and perhaps an emergency reserve. That means a fierce battle should ensue for that third spot considering Jordan Mills isn’t letting go of the right tackle spot. Some might think either J’Marcus Webb or Jonathan Scott have the edge. However, injuries and erratic play have changed the equation. Eben Britton has looked good in camp, he’s healthy, experienced and valuable as a cheap reserve. Better still, nobody is talking about him. Nothing removes pressure more than that.
Out: J’Marcus Webb
Having already cut his pay after losing the starting job, the Bears are sending a clear message that if J’Marcus Webb wants to make the team he’ll have to pick up his play soon because any thought of him regaining the starting job has disappeared. For too long people have watched him waste his obvious potential by not having the mean streak needed among the best linemen. That lack of intensity will prove to be his downfall as the Bears decide to stick to the more reliable Scott as the fourth tackle.
In: Marquess Wilson
The coaches can talk all they want about struggling to find a spot for Marquess Wilson because he doesn’t play special teams and reserve receivers are supposed to. Whatever. Anyone watching practices and the first preseason game saw the type of player Wilson can become with more fine-tuning of his body and technique. His kind of talent is the kind one doesn’t risk losing by relegating him to the practice squad.
Out: Devin Aromashodu
It truly is a numbers game for Devin Aromashodu. The rise of second-year man Joe Anderson and his inability to have any significant presence on special teams make him a long shot to make the team. His best hope is to have a breakout performance in the third preseason game or that Chicago decides to take action on the often injured Earl Bennett, which is unlikely. Aromashodu had a definite chance to make it because of his connection with Jay Cutler, but too much talent in front of and behind him makes that impossible.
In: Michael Ford
Excitement was kept to cautious optimism when Michael Ford signed with Chicago as an undrafted free agent. Some scouts saw his raw potential both as a running back and a return man despite leaving LSU earlier than they would’ve liked. So far that prediction has come true. Ford has made impact plays as both a runner and returner. Some media members are still holding back on anointing him the coveted third spot behind Matt Forte and Michael Bush, but the longer the preseason goes on the stronger his hold gets
Out: Armando Allen
Which is really unfortunate for Armando Allen. His special teams ability was the key factor the Chicago Bears coaches wanted to keep him, never mind his underrated ability as a runner. Sadly his stock took tremendous hit when he injured his hamstring against Carolina in the first preseason game. The blow couldn’t have come at a worse time. With him out Ford got the majority of his opportunities, and made the most of them. Unless he can somehow get back for the game in Oakland and get on the field, his job is no longer his at all.