Written by: John Stocco
As football fans we all know this the hardest week on a coaching staff and the front office of a football team. Heading into the final week of the preseason there are teams that will have to make difficult decisions regarding cuts. I’d say if the final week of the preseason doesn’t bring you stress and heated debates on who your team should keep or who your team should cut then chances are your team isn’t very good. The Bears will have some tough choices to make, and some decisions will be made down to the final hour. Through three games the Bears have played it safe by resting their starters. This has given us a chance to see how deep the talent is on this team, and it’s given inexperienced players key reps to get them ready for the regular season if, or when, they will need to step up after an injury. Here are some players that have shown they’re ready for a bigger role, and here are some players that have been flat that could be looking at getting cut.
1, Ryan Nall.
The running back out of Oregon State has been a star for the Bears this preseason. He’s improved as a runner, he’s shown better vision, and he’s shown more physicality in his running and his blocking. I mention physicality because Matt Nagy isn’t afraid to use a fullback, the catch is, Matt Nagy’s offense is all about tempo. Ryan Nall could fill the void at fullback while keeping up or even increasing the tempo with his receiving ability. Nall has proven that he can be another safety target for Mitch Trubisky, and a goal-line back if something happens to Mike Davis. Ryan Nall has simply been too good this preseason to keep off the 53-man roster.
2, Javon Wims.
Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller are getting all the hype, and rightfully so, but it’s time to start putting some respect on Javon Wims’ name. We’re looking at the future of the Bears receiving core with Miller in the slot, Robinson and Wims on the outside. Without Trubisky out there running the offense, and Coach Nagy playing the preseason conservative, it’s hard for any receivers to make a name for himself, but with his crisp route running ability and strong hands, Wims has shown the fans and the coaching staff that he’s someone who shouldn’t be forgotten about in a room full of weapons.
3, James Vaughteers.
Vaughteers epitomizes what Chuck Pagano wants in his defense. Vaughteers brings an all or nothing attack to the defense, just like Pagano’s play calling. We’re going to see more aggressiveness, we’re going to see more attacking, and we’re going to see more turnovers. Vaughteers has brought it this preseason by recording two strip-sacks against the Giants and the Colts. Whenever the football is in your hands you hold the fate of your team. Vaughteers has changed momentum and given this team opportunities to score. He’s a must on the 53-man roster.
4, Deon Bush.
Bush has a lot riding on his shoulders this year. He doesn’t have the resume to earn a long term contract, and with this being the last year of his rookie contract he has to play like his life is on the line every down. This preseason he has. Three deflected passes, two interceptions, and one was taken back to the house against the Colts. HaHa Clinton-Dix will start over him, but whenever Bush gets his chance to shine, the Bears will have a decision to make whether they want to extend him to a bigger role.
1, The Tight End group.
I knew this was going to be the Bears' biggest weakness, but I didn’t know it was going to be this bad. Trey Burton is dealing with a back injury, Adam Shaheen is nowhere to be found, we’re all wishing Bradley Sowell moved back to tackle, and the two undrafted free agents, Ian Bunting, and Dax Raymond haven’t impressed enough to earn lengthy playing time. Thankfully, the Bears have a plethora of targets in the receiver room, and out of their three running backs.
2, The depth at Offensive Tackle.
Bears fell into some trouble here with TJ Clemmings going down with an injury. The Bears have no depth at tackle, and every morning I’m praying that Charles Leno and Bobbie Massie stay healthy. The last few years general manager Ryan Pace hasn’t made it a priority to draft offensive linemen high, or even in the middle of the draft. I think that should, and will change come 2020. The Bears pride themselves on the depth on their roster, but if an injury occurs to one of the starting tackles on the offensive line, the Bears could find themselves into some trouble.
The Bears play the Titans on Thursday night at Soldier Field in the preseason finale. Safe to say you can bet your life that you won’t see a single starter with a helmet in sight. I’m over it, let’s get the real thing started already.