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Bears on the bubble get last chance in Cleveland

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014 11:21 p.m. CDT
(File photo by Monica Maschak –
Bears defensive end Cornelius Washington celebrates a tackle on a return kick with linebacker DeDe Lattimore in the fourth quarter Aug. 14 against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Soldier Field. The Bears won, 20-19.

David Fales against the Browns’ backup defense not doing it for you? Are you not excited to watch Rex Grossman play against the Bears’ third-stringers in the fourth quarter?

Well, then you can focus on to the several Bears fighting for a job tonight in the preseason finale against the Browns. Here are some of those players on the bubble, hoping to put one more good performance on tape for the Bears, or one of the other 31 teams, to earn them a roster spot.

Defensive ends Austen Lane, David Bass and Cornelius Washington: Trevor Scott has clearly won the job as the Bears’ No. 4 defensive end, so these three players are fighting for one, potentially two spots if the Bears want to carry 10 defensive linemen. Lane is ahead of the two second-year players on the depth chart and he had a sack against Seattle. It appears to be his spot to lose. Bass showed flashes last season and has had a couple nice plays in the preseason, while Washington hasn’t matched his potential.

Linebackers Christian Jones and Jerry Franklin: Linebacker is suddenly a position of concern for the Bears, and with Jordan Senn gone, they should want to carry a sixth. If it comes purely down to special teams, Franklin obviously has the edge. He played them last year in 10 games in 2013 and has been a member of the first-team coverage units this preseason. He led the Bears in special teams snaps in Seattle. Jones has the upside as a linebacker, but hasn’t shown it in the preseason or in camp and has been buried on the depth chart. He’ll get plenty of snaps against the Browns, and may not make it through waivers to get to the practice squad because of his potential.

Defensive backs C.J. Wilson, Demontre Hurst and M.D. Jennings: Let’s assume the Bears keep 10 defensive backs, and that Kelvin Hayden, Sherrick McManis and Chris Conte are roster locks, giving them five corners and four safeties. One of these three players, likely based on his abilities on special teams, could take a final roster spot. Wilson got some time with the active roster last season and has two interceptions. Hurst was with the practice squad in 2013 and leads the team with 15 tackles in the preseason. Jennings, a former Packer, has the most NFL experience, and will get plenty of reps at safety.

Returner Chris Williams: It’s starting to look like Josh Morgan and Santonio Holmes will make this team at wide receiver, but the Bears still need a return man, and their hope is that Williams, in his first opportunity, will show the speed we keep hearing about, take the job and guarantee himself a roster spot.

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