Typically the third preseason game is where most of an NFL team’s starters play, but the Bears are a little nicked up at the moment.
After staying competitive with the AFC East elite New England Patriots last week, the Bears will play host to a third straight AFC playoff team from a season ago, the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday afternoon.
The first-team offense and defense will play through the first half and perhaps a few drives in the third quarter.
It’s important to experience live reps in order to get the feel for game speed and of course hits because that is what everyone loves about football. Right?
Next Tuesday serves as the first cut deadline as all 32 teams must trim their rosters down from 90 players to 75 by 4 p.m. ET.
After that, the final cuts come on Sat., Sept. 3 where rosters go from 75 to 53 by 4 pm ET. The next day teams are allowed to form the 10-man practice squad.
With so much on the line for the fringe players, I’ll be taking a look at five players who could be important depth this season.
CB Deiondre’ Hall
The fourth round pick out of Northern Iowa is a guy I had on this list last week. Kyle Fuller (knee) is out for the preseason, Bryce Callahan (hamstring) hasn’t been able to practice and De’Vante Bausby and Jacoby Glenn have been banged up.
Hall could get the nod to start opposite Tracy Porter in this one if Bausby or Glenn is iffy to play. Demontre Hurst will likely man the slot with the first team. The 6’2″, 201-pounder is lengthy and physical and has flashed that with seven tackles and two pass breakups in the preseason. A big outing would go a long way for Hall.
RB Ka’Deem Carey
Third year back Ka’Deem Carey isn’t a guy who is going to carry the load as a full-time starter, but he’s a bruiser who packs a punch at his 5’10”, 215-pound frame. Most importantly head coach John Fox likes him enough to use him often unlike the previous man in charge Marc Trestman.
Carey suffered a concussion in the preseason opener against Denver after totaling 30 yards on five touches (three rushes for eight yards, two catches for 22 yards). He’s back healthy now and out to prove he can be Jeremy Langford’s backfield mate. Veteran Jacquizz Rodgers and rookie Jordan Howard will be battling it out with him as well. It should be fun to watch the running back rotation work itself out.
C Cornelius Edison
Having a second-year center from Portland State on this list isn’t very exciting, but Cornelius Edison has gone from a huge unknown to a guy who could be a crucial piece along the line this season. After going undrafted last year, Edison is going to start at center on Saturday with Ted Larsen moving to right guard. Since Kyle Long’s shoulder is an issue at this point, the Bears are playing it safe.
Edison likely won’t be your Week 1 center with Long due back, but it’s important to get this kid some live snaps with the first-team. He showed well last week in pass protection and did a decent job in run blocking. But that came against the Patriots second-team defense. This is a huge test for Edison.
DL Ego Ferguson
It’s been a weird career thus far for 2014 second round pick Ego Ferguson. He made no starts as a rookie, adding 23 tackles, three pass breakups and two sacks. Last season, he suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 5 against none another than Kansas City. He only started Week 4 and had three total tackles in four games.
Fast forward to this off-season and both Fox and general manager Ryan Pace had marveled about his recovery. But he spent most of the preseason opener with the third-team defense before doing very little with the first-team last week. He’s likely competing with Will Sutton, a guy who can play all three defensive line spots and 28-year-old journeyman Keith Browner for the final spot. This is where he can save his job.
DL Cornelius Washington
Cornelius Washington may only have five tackles and one sack in his career, but the 2013 sixth round pick is a pure athlete. Moving from defensive end to outside linebacker last season and now back to defensive line in the 3-4 scheme, he played very well against Denver two weeks ago, recording three tackles and a sack before being carted off with an ankle injury.
However, that has been his problem since entering the league. Last season, he suffered a quadriceps injury in Week 1 which wiped out his season and the year prior he suffered a left knee injury in Week 17 that forced him to rehab for quite a while last off-season. It’s a big if for Washington to stay healthy, but when he is on the field he makes plays. He will be a key rotational lineman with impressive pass rushing ability. Washington should be able to take advantage of his opportunity on Saturday.
Honorable mentions: CB Jacoby Glenn, LB Christian Jones, S Deon Bush, S DeAndre Houston-Carson, WR Marc Mariani, WR Daniel Braverman, TE Rob Housler, NT Terry Williams
Who will you be watching on in preseason game No. 3?
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