Bears

Cut Tracker: Bears begin finalizing 53-man roster

robertoaguayo.jpg
USA TODAY

Cut Tracker: Bears begin finalizing 53-man roster

The Bears have until 3 p.m. on Saturday to trim their roster down to 53. Players who are waived can be claimed/signed on Sunday, which is when all 32 NFL teams will finalize their practice squad.

As cuts trickle in, CSNChicago.com is tracking each move.

Saturday's IR/PUP moves:

Jordan Morgan (OL)

The Bears' 2017 fifth-round draft pick will be palced on IR, according to the Sun-Times.

Lamarr Houston (OLB)

The veteran outside linebacker will be placed on IR and the team will try to work out an injury settlement, reports NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

Pernell McPhee (OLB)

The Bears are taking McPhee off the PUP list and he will begin the season on the 53-man roster, per the Chicago Tribune.

Saturday's cuts:

Isaiah Irving (OLB)

The undrafted rookie free agent will likely be placed on waivers, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Dan Skuta (OLB)

The Bears will release the veteran linebacker, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Jonathan Anderson  (ILB)

Anderson will be waived and the Bears will attempt to sign him to the practice squad, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Jaye Howard (DL)

The veteran lineman who has been dealing with a hip injury had his contract terminated, per the Chicago Tribune.

Brandon Greene (OL)

Greene, who played both tight end and offensive line at Alabama, has been placed on waivers, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Josh Rounds (RB)

According to the Sun-Times, the Bears will send Rounds through waivers. The rookie running back had 36 carries for 84 yards and two receptions for 18 yards in the preseason.

Dieugot Joseph (OL)

The Bears will place the rookie offensive lineman on waivers, according to the Chicago Tribune.

DeAndre Houston-Carson (S)

A sixth-round pick by the Bears in 2016, Houston-Carson only had two tackles in his two seasons in Chicago. The Houston Chronicle reports the Bears will cut Houston-Carson.

Rashaad Coward (DL)

The undrafted free agent will be a candidate for the Bears' practice squad, according to the Chicago Tribune. 

Tanner Gentry (WR)

A fan favorite throughout training camp, Gentry will be placed on waivers, according to the Sun-Times. Gentry had four receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown during the preseason.

Harold Jones-Quartey (S)

The Bears have waived the former undrafted free agent, according to the Chicago Tribune. Jones-Quartey had 87 tackles and two interceptions in 29 games with the Bears.

Roberto Aguayo (K)

The former second-round pick who the Bears claimed off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in August has been released, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Aguayo missed his only field goal attempt with the Bears during the preseason.

Friday's cuts:

Cyril Richardson (OL)

Richardson will be placed on waivers, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Victor Cruz (WR)

The Bears won't be serving salsa at Soldier Field this season. According to multiple reports, the Bears will release the veteran wide receiver. Cruz had six passes for 37 yards with a touchdown in four preseason games.

Connor Shaw (QB)

After getting injured in Thursday's preseason finale against the Browns, the Bears are expected to waive Shaw, per the Chicago Tribune.

Rashaad Reynolds (CB)

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bears have waived Reynolds.

Will Poehls (OL)

Poehls, who spent time on the Bears practice squad in 2016, was placed on waiverd Friday afternoon, according to Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times.

Taylor Boggs (OL)

Back for a second stint with the Bears, Boggs wasn't able to crack the final 53-man roster, per the Chicago Tribune.

Freddie Stevenson (FB)

The former Florida State standout, who was one of two fullbacks in camp with the Bears, has been placed on waivers, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Mitchell Kirsch (G)

The rookie guard has been placed on waivers, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Kelvin Sheppard (LB)

The veteran linebacker had his contract terminated by the Bears, per the Chicago Tribune.

MyCole Pruitt (TE)

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bears informed Pruitt that he will be placed on waivers. Pruitt, a former fifth round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, had five receptions for 85 yards in four preseason games.

(Too) Bold Predictions: Leonard Floyd scores the 1st Bears touchdown of the season

(Too) Bold Predictions: Leonard Floyd scores the 1st Bears touchdown of the season

(Too) Bold Predictions aims to take nuanced, well-researched information and use it to make wildly improbable predictions. Analysis! 

J.J. Stankevitz: 
1. The Bears' first touchdown of 2019 will be scored by...Leonard Floyd.
The thought here: Denver's offense is not designed to get the ball out quick, and Joe Flacco is generally immobile in the pocket. As long as the Bears' downfield coverage is as good as it was last week (save for one play-action bomb Aaron Rodgers hit), Floyd and Khalil Mack will have plenty of chances to tee off on Flacco. So one of those chances will lead to a strip-sack deep in Broncos territory, with Floyd scooping it up and jogging into the end zone. 

2. Mitch Trubisky will have a passer rating of 95.4.
That was Trubisky's passer rating in 2018...which was 33.3 points higher than his rating in Week 1. Generally speaking, it's hard to imagine Trubisky being significantly worse in 2019 than he was in 2018, even in light of how bad things were against the Packers. So even against a Vic Fangio defense, Trubisky will put up numbers close to or matching his per-game averages in 2018: 66.6 completion percentage, one touchdown, one interception, 230 yards, two sacks. And that'll be good enough for the Bears to win. 

Cam Ellis
1. The Bears will double their season touchdown total in the 1st quarter
This is, admittedly, just a round-about way of saying the Bears will actually get into the end zone this week, which would typically not be very bold. And yet, here we are. After 10 days of having to hear about the run game issues in Week 1, the bet here is that Nagy goes to David Montgomery early and often. Even with Vic Fangio at the helm, the Broncos' defense doesn't yet look like the intimidating sides he's been synonymous with. Let's say Montgomery gets in first from 10-15 and then Trubisky hits Anthony Miller for the 2nd. 

2. Eddy Pineiro will hit his first NFL field goal from 50+ yards
This game has Pineiro's name all over it. Consider: 

a. The way the offense played in Week 1 
b. The thin air
c. How frequently Nagy's decision to not try Pineiro from distance in Week 1 was questioned. 

The Bears spent all summer talking about the 'leg talent' Pineiro had, and while that alone didn't win him the job, it certainly didn't hurt (*Elliot Fry nods sadly*). They also frequently talk about getting Pineiro in a rhythm, and what better place to let him rip some than Denver in September? Since (Too) Bold Predictions are really just thinly-veiled optimism, let's say he sneaks one in from 53.

Three keys and prediction: Bears at Broncos

Three keys and prediction: Bears at Broncos

1. Let David Montgomery eat. Before the season, one of the narratives surrounding the Bears' offense was turning over 75 percent of the running back personnel from 2018 to 2019 would allow Matt Nagy's run scheme to flourish, which in turn would help Mitch Trubisky be a better quarterback. Having Trubisky pass 45 times with only 12 rushing plays to a player in the backfield in Week 1, then, hardly fit that narrative. 

A better run-pass balance will only help Trubisky be more comfortable going through his reads in the pocket, which should lead to him being more efficient. It has to happen this week, too, given the looming specter of Broncos edge rushers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb 10 days after the Packers generated a ton of pressure and five sacks on the pass-happy Bears. It’ll be a lot easier for Miller and Chubb to get after Trubisky if they can reasonably know a pass play is coming. 

So this brings us to the main point here: The Bears need to get Montgomery going. They didn’t trade up within the third round, sacrificing a 2020 fourth-round pick, to draft a running back who only gets seven touches. Yes, Montgomery will share time with Mike Davis and Tarik Cohen (assuming Cohen doesn’t line up out wide or in the slot on nearly every snap he takes again), but committing to a better run-pass balance — with Montgomery leading it — will work wonders for the Bears’ offense. 

The Oakland Raiders did this in Week 1, with rookie Josh Jacobs rushing 23 times for 85 yards (3.7 yards/carry)…while Derek Carr completed 22 of 26 passes in a 24-16 win. 

2. Don’t let Joe Flacco push the ball downfield. Flacco completed seven of 11 passes that traveled at least 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage in Denver’s season opener, but only one of those traveled 20 or more yards beyond the line of scrimmage. The Broncos’ offense isn’t totally designed to get the ball out quick and scheme out edge rushers, but it might have to with big-ticket free agent right tackle Ja’Wuan James out (though the team trusts backup Elijah Wilkinson). The Bears’ defense should be good enough to make the necessary tackles and plays on those short throws to keep Denver out of the end zone. 

The goal, then, will be to not let Flacco hit a deep shot to Courtland Sutton or Emanuel Sanders, be it on play action or a straight drop-back. The good news is the Bears paired their coverage and pass rush well against Green Bay in Week 1, with cornerbacks and safeties generally not letting things develop downfield while Leonard Floyd/Khalil Mack/Roy Robertson-Harris/Akiem Hicks/etc. got after Aaron Rodgers. Do the same and Denver’s offense will have a tough time getting on the scoreboard. 

3. Win on first down. The best way for the Bears’ defense to deal with the attitude and heat facing them Sunday will be to not allow positive plays on first down. Denver’s offense wasn’t totally inefficient in Week 1, and reached Raiders territory on six of its eight possessions — yet didn’t score a touchdown until its last drive of the game. The Bears would do well to keep the Broncos from having the kind of extended drives they had on Monday (7.6 plays per drive) given the conditions Sunday.

The worry here is if Denver is able to extend drives, the Bears’ defense will get gassed quickly and might be more prone to allowing those drives to end in points than a Raiders defense high on inspiration but middling on talent was. So this means getting a good pass rush if Flacco drops back on first down, or having Akiem Hicks boss the interior while Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan get downhill to stop the run. Do that, and Denver’s offense likely won’t be good enough to overcome second- and third-and-long downs. 

Prediction: Bears 19, Broncos 16. The Broncos haven’t lost at home in Week 2 since 1979, and have a 12-game winning streak in Week 1 or Week 2 home games. Beneath those numbers are two things: First, the Broncos have been one of the NFL’s best franchises over the last 40 years; and second, it’s often difficult to play on the road at altitude early in the season, when players aren’t quite in peak football shape yet. 

The altitude will, of course, be present on Sunday. A good Broncos team will not. This game will nonetheless be close, but the team with the better roster will win. And that team is the Bears.