Well, the Bears have finally cut down their roster to the 53-man maximum. There were some surprises, some expected releases, and a couple of injury disappointments. I’ll break down my feelings on the Bears final cuts below.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers was an effective change-of-pace back in his prime with the Falcons, but he looked like he aged about five years in the offseason. Rodgers showed little to no burst through the line of scrimmage, didn’t have his usual wiggle in the open field, and lacked the surprising power between the tackles that he showed last season.
Rodgers is the Bears best pass blocker among the running backs and one of the better receivers, but Ka’Deem Carey showed he could be an effective pass blocker and was a better short-yardage runner through the preseason. Rodgers is a good special teams player, but the Bears kept similar kick coverage players like Josh Bellamy and Sherrick McManis making Rodgers special teams skills somewhat redundant.
Also the breakout game from rookie power back Jordan Howard lessened the need for Rodgers skills in short-yardage situations between the tackles. Rodgers should catch on somewhere else, as he’s still a well-rounded RB who can fill a role as a pass blocker, between the tackles runner, and special teams player. The Bears just already have younger and cheaper players to handle those roles and didn’t need the veteran Rodgers anymore.
DE Ego Ferguson – If Ferguson played his first two years like he did in the 4th preseason game, he might have been in the mix for a starting job on the defensive line. Instead Ferguson was released despite his strong game against the Browns because it was the first game I’ve seen that Ego played like he gave a shit about the team. He’s been lazy, undisciplined, injured, and unreliable when healthy through his two years in Chicago., He also had a four-game PED suspension and missed most of the 2015 season with an injury.
He was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2014 draft, one round ahead of Will Sutton who he is often compared too. Sutton is smaller and less athletic than Ferguson, but managed to learn a 2nd position (NT) and worked hard to earn snaps wherever he could get them. Before injuring his elbow last season, Sutton was making a legitimate push for a starting DE job despite being considered a bad fit for the Bears new 3-4 scheme. This offseason Sutton gained enough wait to earn snaps as the backup nose tackle behind Eddie Goldman. Sutton’s ability to backup the nose tackle position may have ultimately won Sutton one of the final roster spots.
ILB John Timu – Don’t get me wrong, John Timu is one of my favorite Bears. He gives it his all every play on the field and has the natural run-stopping instincts that the Bears need at the ILB position. He anticipates running plays as well as any Bears ILB and attacks ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage, giving the rest of the Bears D a better chance to be an effective run defense.
Timu’s problem is in pass coverage where he has been consistently exposed as being too slow to cover NFL RBs & TEs. There was play in week 17 where he was beat in coverage by Joique Bell, one of the slowest running backs in the NFL, for a big play. If Timu can’t even cover Bell in man coverage, then there are few players he’s going to be ale to stay with. Timu could have a role as a base package ILB, but with teams passing more than ever, Timu will be a liability more often than not.
Next: Bad Cuts