What to watch for in the Bears' preseason finale against Cleveland

What to watch for in the Bears' preseason finale against Cleveland
NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 27: Victor Cruz #80 of the Chicago Bears is tackled by Adoree' Jackson #25 of the Tennessee Titans during the first half at Nissan Stadium on August 27, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

The summer is over and the preseason is nearly complete as well.

It’s rather amazing how time has flown by, but the regular season starts with a primetime matchup between Kansas City and New England in eight days. Three days after that, we have our first Sunday with NFL football and the Bears will play host to Atlanta at Soldier Field.

Before we can jump ahead, there is one more exhibition game left. The Bears welcome to Cleveland town for the annual preseason finale Thursday.

Bottom of the roster players and backups will compete for four quarters. Final cuts will come on Saturday as all 32 teams will have to trim their rosters from 90 to 53.

That means 1,184 players will be let go by their respective franchises. That is a gigantic number, but that is the business they are in.

Here are some things to watch for in Thursday’s preseason wrap up.

The safety rotation

Adrian Amos played well into the fourth quarter last week in Tennessee. The Bears’ starting safety from the last two seasons could be losing his job to rookie Eddie Jackson. It will be telling if Jackson doesn’t play at all in this one. Safeties coach Ed Donatell sees the potential in Jackson as a playmaker on the back end.

Veteran Quintin Demps won’t play in this one as he prepares for the season opener. After that, Deon Bush, Harold Jones-Quartey, Chris Prosinski, Deiondre’ Hall and DeAndre Houston-Carson will see the field.

I think Bush has performed well and the team has seen enough from Jones-Quartey to feel comfortable with him as a core backup.

Demps, Jackson, Amos, Bush and Jones-Quartey should be your five safeties kept on the roster. Hall could be stashed on the practice squad.

Trubisky’s progressions

No. 2 overall pick, Mitchell Trubisky has completed 34 of 48 passes for 354 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 112.7 passer rating in three preseason outings. He also has four runs for 47 yards.

He will start this one and likely play the entire first half before being relieved by Connor Shaw. Veterans Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez will be in street clothes.

This move is simple by head coach John Fox. Trubisky needs all the reps he can get. He earned valuable ones last week in Tennessee running with the first-team for two drives. Trubisky is gaining confidence and regardless of who is lining up against, you can’t replicate live football.

Expect Trubisky to continue his fine play against Cleveland.

The wide receiver room

Cameron Meredith is done for the year with a torn ACL. That is awful news for an offense that was counting on his consistent production.

Kevin White and Kendall Wright will open the season as the top two wide receivers with Markus Wheaton working his way back from a broken finger.

Deonte Thompson, Tanner Gentry, Victor Cruz, Titus Davis, Josh Bellamy, Daniel Braverman and Dalton Howard are your other receivers.

I think Thompson and Gentry are the only guys who should be considered locks to make the team after White, Wright and Wheaton. Cruz looks done, Davis is a practice squad player, Bellamy is banged up and Braverman and Howard haven’t been targeted on offense.

Final cuts could be where the Bears find much-needed help at the wide receiver position.

Defensive line depth

Jaye Howard still needs this game to tune-up. He won’t play long, but Roy Robertson-Harris should. The Bears like what they have in the second-year UTEP defensive end. He should earn one of the final spots in the defensive line rotation.

Mitch Unrein, C.J. Wilson, John Jenkins and Rashaad Coward round out the group. Unrein could be bounced if the Bears decide to keep Robertson-Harris, Jonathan Bullard, Howard and Jenkins over him. Personally, I think that is what the Bears should do behind Eddie Goldman and Akiem Hicks.

Offensive line depth

Finding the top backups is important. Hroniss Grasu could start the year at center with Kyle Long still banged up. None of the starters should be out there so that means Taylor Boggs will take over at center.

Swing tackle Tom Compton, rookie guard Jordan Morgan, tackles William Poehls, Cyril Richardson, Bradley Sowell, Mitchell Kirsch and Dieugot Joseph will get ample playing time.

Compton and Morgan are destined to make the roster. But the rest of the group is unknown. Joseph is an undrafted rookie from FIU that I’ve heard rave reviews about in camp. I think if he can perform well on Thursday night then he’ll at the very least make the practice squad.

Special teams

The Bears have a new long snapper for kicker Connor Barth and punter Patrick O’Donnell to work with. His name is Jeff Overbaugh. The rookie from San Diego State has spent time with the Rams and Broncos.

He gets a shot to replace Patrick Scales, who tore his ACL last week and is now out for the season.

If Overbaugh impresses, then there will be no need to scan the waiver wire after final cuts. But I have a hunch, a solid veteran will be available this weekend for the Bears to scoop up.


After the game Thursday night, I’ll have a recap of the game and my thoughts. Friday, I’ll have my 53-man roster prediction. Follow for all the cuts by the Bears up until the Saturday deadline at 4:00 p.m. ET.

Weigh in with your thoughts on the Bears in the comment section below.

Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter, @Bearsbacker and on Facebook for up to the minute news about the Chicago Bears.

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