Chicago Bears: bubble
August, 30, 2012
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com
CLEVELAND -- Brilliant performances in the final game of the preseason, alone, rarely move the staff so much it decides to keep a player on the final 53-man roster.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesLorenzo Booker had a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Redskins in the preseason, which helps his cae for making the final roster.
But for players teetering on the edge, the final exhibition outing means everything, which makes the description "three dogs, one bone" used by defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli apt for describing the situation for Thursday night's preseason finale against the Cleveland Browns.
"This is the last shot, end of training camp, to prove that (you) belong in the NFL," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "A lot of times you really see something special from a guy when he's up against the wall like that, and that's what we want to see. If you have something that you've been saving -- some special play, to get you over the hump -- then this is definitely the time to do it. Once you get to the fourth quarter (of) the last game, guys know what's at stake."
Although the fate of many players is already sealed going into Thursday night's game, with the majority of the frontline contributors expected to sit, this contest will likely decide several close battles for backup spots and roles on special teams.
"We've had so many OTAs and so many practices, we've seen guys in most situations," Smith said. "But in the end, you want to see how they're going to finish. When you know you need to play the best you can play, you want to see how they handle that."
The Bears cut to the final 53-man roster on Friday.
Here's a look at 10 on-the-bubble players who could help themselves with strong performances against the Cleveland Browns: