Sanzenbacher looks like solid pick
August, 30, 2011
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Barring an injury in the next couple of days, undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher has a strong chance to make the Bears' final 53-man roster as the sixth wideout.
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhMike Martz said Dane Sanzenbacher's knowledge of several positions is an important asset.
The former Ohio State star began taking some reps in the slot with the first team early in camp, and saw action during the Bears' second offensive series on Saturday in Tennessee.
He caught two passes for 23 yards on six targets against the Titans, and he's tied for second in overall preseason receptions with six.
"Dane has done a really nice job," Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz said. "He knows several positions, which is really important. He's got some similar skills as Earl [Bennett] in the slot. The match-ups for him inside are very good, so we're really pleased with him."
That's not to say Sanzenbacher is taking a roster spot for granted. He is expected to receive plenty of playing time in the preseason finale versus the Browns on Thursday. However, the prevailing feeling in the locker room is that six receivers -- the Bears kept 5 in 2010 -- will be on the active roster heading into the Week 1 match-up with the Atlanta Falcons.
"I think there's still a lot to do this week and obviously with the Browns game," Sanzenbacher said. "You never stop proving yourself of trying to get a spot, especially when you're in my position. So you can't rest on anything.
One of the few knocks against Sanzenbacher has been his size on special teams. At 5-11, 180 pounds, Sanzenbacher might not be big enough for Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub to use on coverage teams, although the club is trying to find ways to use the receiver on the third phase.
"I'm trying to (contribute on special teams)," Sanzenbacher said. "I'll get another big opportunity this week. The beginning of camp, there weren't as many opportunities and you kind of have to prove yourself and work your way into those roles. I think now we're going to be able to put a lot on film. And I mean obviously I'm open to whatever they want me to do, but it's just a matter of proving it."