Bears GM Ryan Pace and coach John Fox are still in the shakedown period of their Chicago tenures, the time when tendencies, preferences and other operating philosophies become apparent. With the first edition of “final” roster reductions (waivers, contracts terminated, suspension), from 75 to 53 players, one or two Fox/Pace traits suggested themselves.
For one, they are not ego-wedded to “their guys,” players with connections to them or their staffs from the past. Among the roster trims made official before Saturday’s mandated 3 p.m. deadline were a player signed by Pace this offseason projected to be a starting inside linebacker – Mason Foster – and a quarterback prospect – Zac Dysert – who played for Fox and coordinator Adam Gase in Denver.
And the Bears will not hesitate to roll dice on unproven undrafted rookies – linebacker John Timu – over presumably safer veterans (Foster).
The exact level of draft quality remains to play out when games start to count, but for just the second time in the past 10 years – but the second in the last three years – the entire Bears class was incorporated into the 53-man roster.
Expect the 2015 Bears roster to remain fluid through Opening Day, the trading deadline and possibly beyond. Teams routinely are in constant search of upgrades and Pace has made it abundantly clear that the Bears would be aggressive once roster cutdowns made possible upgrades available from other teams’ castoffs.
In addition to defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff being placed on the reserve/suspended list, the following players were removed from the Bears’ final roster as of late Saturday:
LB Jonathan Anderson: Great showing vs. Cleveland should land him on practice squad, or with Browns.
LB David Bass: One of the many 4-3 speed rushers trying to make the switch to an edge player in the 3-4. Not enough impact moments at a position with better options (Sam Acho, Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Pernell McPhee, Willie Young).
QB Zac Dysert: The play of David Fales in the win over Cleveland made Fales arguably too valuable to cut with the hope of slipping him onto the practice squad. What Dysert’s brief stop in Chicago did, though, was give Bears a close-up look at a potential emergency quarterback.
LB Mason Foster: Signed by Pace and the Bears in March, Foster had moments as a backup inside ‘backer but did not flash enough for a fifth-year player. The impact plays of Timu in particular, with his value on special teams, made Foster expendable.
OL Michael, Ola: Ola started 12 games at four different positions in 2014, a versatility standard few players can match and teams covet. But Ola struggled throughout camp and was never even in the discussion for solving the problems at right tackle.
TE Dante Rosario: The late-preseason trade for Khari Lee, with Fox’s description of Lee as a good in-line blocker, portended Rosario’s exit, particularly after Rosario had a dropped pass and penalties on consecutive plays in the loss at Cincinnati.
NT Terry Williams: Swamp Monster had a creditable game in the shutout of the Cleveland Browns, and it would surprise no one if another 3-4 team (like the Browns) found space for him. The move by the Bears stands as a statement that they expect Eddie Goldman to be back from his concussion sooner rather than later. It also signals what coaches thought of how Will Sutton has performed at the spot, which also has Ego Ferguson available, and Jeremiah Ratliff should be back from his foot injury by the time his three-game suspension is served.
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S Qumain Black
G Conor Boffeli
DE David Carter
WR A.J. Cruz
DL Brandon Dunn
CB Jacoby Glenn
S Anthony Jefferson
WR Rashad Lawrence
G Tyler Moore
TE Bear Pascoe
TE Gannon Sinclair
WR Ify Umodu
LB Matthew Wells
LB Kyle Woestmann