Chicago Bears host Cleveland Browns: 5 Things to Watch

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Who will take charge in the offensive roster competitions?

The rosters moves made earlier this week by the Chicago Bears didn’t really shake anything up on offense.

May 27, 2015; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Shane Carden (15) during organized team activities at the Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears released reserve tight ends Kevin Greene and Chris Pantale, wide receivers Jeremy Kelley, Levi Norwood and John Chiles, lineman Cameron Jefferson and running back Daniel Thomas, while putting White on the physically unable to perform list. None of those players had much of a chance to be contributors this year for the Bears, except for maybe Thomas, who was fighting through a sea of better backs for playing time. They also released quarterback Shane Carden on Tuesday.

The Bears’ roster has to be down to 75 players Tuesday, and down to the standard 53-man roster on Saturday.

On offense, the Bears are still carrying four quarterbacks. They cut Carden, but signed Zac Dysert. Even though Dysert is familiar with Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase, I would expect that David Fales would be the third quarterback and Desert released once Jimmy Clausen is healthy.

Elsewhere, I was hoping the Bears would keep five running backs so that they could hold onto Ka’Deem Carey and Perry. Perry was placed on IR on Tuesday, though, so Carey has a better chance at making the roster.

Aug 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Marc Mariani (80) runs a kick back during the second quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Wide receiver is another matter. With all the injuries, guessing who stays and who will go is difficult. AJ Cruz and Marc Mariani, particularly the latter, are key special teams contributors, while Rashad Lawrence and Cameron Meredith could see playing time as the Bears’ starters continue to battle injuries. Ify Umodu, I would guess, is the likely cut.

While the wide receiver roster battle is confusing due to injury, the second-string tight end battle is confusing, because, well … have any of them done anything this preseason? Aside from Dante Rosario dropping a pass Saturday, I mean. Neither Rosario, Bear Pascoe, Zach Miller or Blake Annen did anything to distinguish themselves, and will be looking to make a mark Thursday. With the offensive line struggling, the Bears would be better off keeping a blocking tight end instead of another receiving option.

Jul 25, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears tackle Charles Leno, Jr. (72) blocks linebacker Khaseem Greene (52) during training camp at Olivet Nazarene University. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

At offensive line, the Bears have a handful of players competing for reserve positions. Ducasse seems likely to be the primary reserve guard, while Tayo Fabuluje, Ola, Mills and Leno Jr. are all in the running for backup tackle, though either Mills or Leno are likely to start at right tackle.

Reviewing all these options, it’s stunning how few of the Bears’ reserves have played well enough to guarantee themselves roster spots. The backups on the offensive line have looked shaky, the backup tight ends are non-entities, and the reserve wide receivers are inconsistent.

Hopefully some of these players shine against the Browns Thursday, making John Fox and company’s jobs easier before final cuts are due Saturday.

Next: Clearing The Air On Defense