The Chicago Bears got the first preseason game out of the way. After a couple of weeks in a training camp with minimal hitting, the players got to see some live action for the first time. It’s funny because guys who look like studs in shorts and shells very often take a step back when facing a real game situation. There were a few camp heroes who turned into zeros before our very eyes. As a result, there are a few jobs that are up for grabs. As a matter of fact, here are my top five.
5. Backup Tight End
Fendi Onobun ought to be on a bus. Based on what I saw out of him in Friday night’s loss to the Panthers, I think Onobun translates to Davis II, as in Kellen Davis II. Onobun dropped a perfect pass from Josh McCown and later got a case of alligator arms going across the middle that caused Matt Blanchard’s pass to be intercepted.
It’s becoming clear why the Bears brought Leonard Pope into camp. He is probably the next best tight end by default, but he’s more of a blocking tight end and in my opinion will be used in two tight end sets as an extra blocker. That leaves Onobun, Kyle Adams and Steve Maneri to battle it out for the last spot. I can’t imagine that Gabe Miller, who’s facing a four-game suspension as a serious contender.
4. Third Running Back
Matt Forte and Michael Bush are pretty well set as the top two running backs. What you’d like to see out of the third running back is a change of pace and someone who can contribute on special teams. With limited touches, you want the third RB to be reliable and make the most of their opportunities.
Michael Ford showed well in his limited touches. He had a nifty kick return and scored a touchdown down around the goal line while Armando Allen coughed one up in the red zone as the Bears were heading in for a score. Marc Trestman wants his players to protect that “precious ball” so Allen didn’t do himself any favors. There’s a battle brewing here for sure.
3. Fifth Wide Receiver
Based on what we’ve seen in camp and the first preseason game, the top four wide receivers, assuming everyone is healthy, are Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Earl Bennett and Joe Anderson. I am thinking that the Bears will only keep 5 wide receivers since they have a spot reserved for Devin Hester as a specialist. That means there’s one spot open and quite a few players vying for it.
Rookie Marquess Wilson seems to be the frontrunner for that spot after a strong outing in the Panthers game. He finished up the night with 4 catches for 82 yards and nearly scored a long touchdown before stepping out of bounds just before the goal line.
Eric Weems is a key special teams contributor, but the Bears can’t keep too many guys on the roster who can only contribute on special teams. Devin Aromashodu has some experience and Jay Cutler likes him, but he didn’t show much to distinguish himself.