Chicago Bears Preseason Game #4: Position Battles (Defense)

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Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The fourth and final preseason game is usually the least exciting to watch for most fans. None of the starters generally play and it’s mostly a showcase for players battling for the last 8-10 spots on the final 53-man roster. With inexperienced players on the field most of the game, the quality of play can get pretty ugly but with final cuts around the corner this is the last chance for some players to make a positive impression on both the Bears brass and GMs around the league. I’ve broken down some of the defensive roster battles to keep an eye on during Thursday night’s game vs the Browns.

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Position Battles

4th-5th DE

The switch to a 3-4 scheme on a roster of players drafted to play a 4-3 has been a difficult transition for many Bears D-lineman. Some players, like Will Sutton, have made it look surprisingly easy but after veteran Jarvis Jenkins and 2nd-year players Ego Ferguson and Sutton there is uncertainty over who the 4th and maybe 5th Bears defensive end is going to be. With the pending suspension of Jay Ratliff and Eddie Goldman’s concussion, the Bears may be forced to keep an extra nose tackle which could mean there is only one roster spot at DE for Cornelius Washington, Brandon Dunn, and David Carter.

Washington has the most athletic upside and proven special teams value which makes him the favorite in my opinion, but 2nd year undrafted free agent Brandon Dunn has played well in limited snaps, is a favorite of OLB coach Clint Hurtt (who he played for at Louisville), and has the size (6’3 | 300) to play nose tackle in a pinch. Veteran David Carter is the 3rd option and has impressed against the run in limited snaps with a 2.3 run stopping grade from Pro Football Focus in just 39 preseason snaps.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

4th ILB

The release of 2-time Pro Bowl corner Tim Jennings should have been a pretty clear message to Bears veterans that no player was untouchable. Hopefully former 2nd round pick Jon Bostic was paying attention. Bostic has looked lost on the field so far in the preseason and has fallen behind Shea McClellin, Christian Jones, and Mason Foster at ILB. After flashing big play potential in the preseason of his rookie year (remember this hit!), it’s been downhill for Bostic ever since. He always seems a step or two behind the action and has looked even worse so far this preseason. The Bears traded for rookie ILB Matthew Wells, a 6th round pick by the Patriots, who has 4.48 speed and the potential to be an impact player on special teams. Bears undrafted rookie John Timu has also played well this preseason and was one of the most underrated ILB prospects in the draft. Another undrafted rookie, Jonathan Anderson, is probably too small (6’1 | 227) to make much of an impact as an ILB, but has definite special teams potential.