The Bears officially announced their practice squad roster on Sunday afternoon, and Bears fans will be happy to see many of the names on it.
Lineman Alex Bars, linebacker James Vaughters, and running back Ryan Nall will all return to Halas Hall for the 2019 season:
We have signed the following Practice Squad players:— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) September 1, 2019
OL, Alex Bars
QB, Tyler Bray
DB, Stephen Denmark
LB, Jonathan Harris
TE, Jesper Horsted
WR, Thomas Ives
DB, Michael Joseph
OL, Sam Mustipher
RB, Ryan Nall
LB, James Vaughters
Both Bars and Vaughters had particularly strong camps, and were considered by many to have played well enough to make the final 53-man roster.
Perhaps no player that actually saw meaningful preseason minutes played better than Vaughers, who finished the preseason with three sacks and two forced fumbles. Not only did his performances get the attention of Matt Nagy, but they drew some pretty lofty comparisons too.
"He’s around that football," Nagy told reporters last week. "He’s quick around the edge. A lot of times you see these guys have these sacks, and they sack the quarterback. But what James is doing is he’s going after that football. It’s just something that our own guy here in 52 does, with Khalil. He does that a lot too."
Fans will be glad to see Bars on the practice squad, after a strong preseason raised the risk of another team claiming the undrafted free agent off waivers. Originally a guard, Bars was moved to tackle mostly out of need. He'll now get a chance to develop under the familiar tutelage of Harry Hiestand.
“I’m still working to improve at it,” he said after Thursday night's game. “I haven’t necessarily repped it as much as I’ve wanted to. But I mean, I’m working to improve it. I’ll watch the tape and see what need to improve on, and keep working at it.”
Another practice squad note of interest may be the inclusion of tight end Jesper Horsted, who beat out other undrafted free agents Ian Bunting, Ellis Richardson, and Dax Raymond for the spot. (Though technically the Bears put Raymond on IR, so he remains on the team.) Horsted made a handful of head-turning catches throughout the preseason, but his deficiencies in the run game – not to mention a somewhat-solidified pecking order in the TE room – kept him off the final 53.