Chicago Bears Preseason Finale Will Hint Who Is Likely Cut Already

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Aug 25, 2020; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receivers Javon Wims (83) and Riley Ridley (88) during training camp Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020 at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Brian Cassella/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

They say the preseason is a big opportunity for several players on every NFL roster. This is true to an extent. Those that play well in it tend to find themselves on the final 53. However, a better way to put it is those who play well in the first couple of preseason games do so. The truth is that no game is less impactful to a player’s roster hopes than the finale. It used to be the fourth game. After the new CBA changes, it is now the third. Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy even said the team would be treating it like the old fourth preseason game.

If so, then fans need to pay attention to one thing. Who among the players are on the field the most? This will be an undeniable indication that they have likely not made the team. That Nagy and the coaching staff are using them to keep others who have cracked the roster on the sideline in safety. There will be some exceptions of course. Justin Fields and some starters will play in the first half. Mostly due to their need for more tune-up reps. By and large though, anybody logging extended time is likely gone.

Just look at their last preseason finale back in 2019. Follow the trends.
  • Josh Caldwell got the most rushing attempts (cut)
  • Thomas Ives had the most catches and targets (cut)
  • Jameer Thurman and Doyin Jibowu tied for the most tackles (cut)
  • John Franklin III worked kickoff returns (cut)
  • Clifton Duck worked punt returns (cut)

So it won’t be a question of who fans see on Saturday in Nashville but who they won’t see. Which players who were supposedly in a roster battle are standing on the sideline in baseball caps the entire game? That will be a clear enough indication they’ve made the team. At least for the time being.

Unexpected Chicago Bears who may play a lot in this game

Going into August, lots of people had preconceived notions about how things were going to play out. That is inevitable during an offseason. As always, training camp and the early preseason tend to reveal some surprises. After almost a full month of roster battles, there could be a number of unexpected names who end up logging several snaps in the finale against the Titans. Here are a few notables.

Javon Wims

His spot on the roster has always centered around his run blocking ability and special teams presence. Not even that will likely save him this time. Not after his ugly final act last season with a dropped touchdown pass and getting ejected for throwing punches. Both against the same team.

Riley Ridley

Another later round receiver the Chicago Bears had high hopes for. Ridley had some good things going for him including size and route-running prowess. He just never showed it often enough to convince the coaches he deserved more playing time. Now his persistent drop issues this past month and the ascent of Rodney Adams have likely ended his run.

Arlington Hambright

The former 7th round pick was put in a tough situation last year being thrust into the starting lineup due to injuries. He handled himself well enough. So far this preseason he hasn’t looked terrible. The problem is merely that the Bears are deep on the interior offensive line. Hambright isn’t overtaking Alex Bars and can’t play tackle.

Charles Snowden

Another player trapped in a deep position. Snowden has played well this preseason with multiple pressures and a couple of sacks. He looks like the high-profile undrafted free agent they signed. Unfortunately, Jeremiah Attaochu and Trevis Gipson are ahead of him. Both of whom are bigger investments by the team.

Josh Woods

It’s amazing how fast things can change in the space of a few days. When Woods went on the shelf with a thigh injury during training camp, there was still a strong chance he’d be on the roster. Upon his return, that was no longer the case thanks to the arrival of Alec Ogletree. Now his impressive run of the past three years has likely reached an end.

Duke Shelley

Will he be cut? Not likely. However, there are rumblings that the Bears aren’t happy with what Shelley has shown in the wake of releasing Buster Skrine. They may not be comfortable with him at the nickel corner spot. His playing at all on Saturday would be a clear indication of this.

SOURCEBrian Cassella/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College in Chicago, Erik has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.
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