Chicago Bears: Mario Addison
CHICAGO -- The Bears are expected to begin trimming down the roster on Friday morning, which could lead to a stressful 24 hours for those players on the bubble. Here's some reaction from a few bubble players who spoke in the postgame locker room following the Bears 24-14 victory over Cleveland to close the preseason.
Safety Winston Venable: "I think I could have done a little better on special teams [Thursday night], there were a few opportunities I missed, but overall, I put in one-hundred percent effort and deep down that's all I can ask for. I tried my best, so whatever happens, happens. It (camp) was difficult, there was a big learning curve, especially with the defense. But I slowly progressed learning the defense, but understood special teams is the mark I have to make, so I just wanted to focus on that especially. I think I did well. I think it's all up in the air right now. The coaches will do some more evaluating and make some decisions here soon."
Defensive end Mario Addison: "I think the coaches are looking for if you can make it through the whole game, and I did, thank goodness. This is a veteran team, so I told myself, I got to do something to show the coaches I'm worthy of playing on this team. I have some speed, so I try and use that to my advantage. That's what I hope the coaches noticed, I wanted to open some eyes with my speed. But I'm not going to lie, I'm nervous. I've never been this nervous in my whole life."
Running back Robert Hughes: "I don't look at that [final cuts]. Those are things I can't control. I was taught that you don't worry about things you can't control and just go forth with everything that has happened and work hard. That's the thing that's going to win out in the end."
Receiver Dane Sanzenbacher: "The coaches gave me every chance in the world to make this team, so whatever happens, happens."
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Corey Wootton's recent knee injury opened the door for a third defensive end to jump into the rotation with veterans Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije. Saturday night's game against the Titans gives Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli another chance to evaluate ends Mario Addison, Nick Reed and Vernon Gholston, before making any type of final decision in regards to the final roster.
"What I want to do is finish this week out," Marinelli said. "See how some of these young guys have progressed. I think Mario has come around. I want to take one more good look at it, then make some adjustments at that point, and see where we’re at."
One option at Marinelli's disposal is to move one his quick, athletic defensive tackles outside to the end position. But the veteran coach seemed hesitant to go that route when he discussed the topic following Thursday's practice.
"Well, Henry [Melton] has done it, that’s what we brought him here for," Marinelli said. "So, he’s got that ability to do it, but right now I don’t want to move anybody. I want to see if we can keep getting better and improve. We’ve got options in there. One, is when Corey gets back. Two, we got a couple of young guys coming. And three, Henry can always do it."
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Although it's believed Corey Wootton could return from a knee injury in time for the regular season opener, the next few weeks provide the Chicago Bears coaching staff a chance to evaluate defensive ends further down the depth chart.
Defensive ends Mario Addison and Vernon Gholston, in particular, are seeing increased practice reps with Wootton currently on the shelf.
Addison, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Troy, appears to be putting together a solid training camp. He registered a tackle for a loss and a quarterback hit in the Bears' preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.
"Everybody is doing a good job," Bears starting defensive end Julius Peppers said. "Mario is doing well, he's coming on. We have guys that need to step up with Corey being out, so guys are going to get a lot of time to make an impression. He's taking advantage."
Gholston's struggles in three years with the New York Jets are well documented, and although the former first-round pick hasn't exactly stood out at camp like Addison, Marinelli says he's starting to see small improvements from Gholston in practice.
"I think he's gotten better every single (day)," Marinelli said. "(It's) small things, not a gigantic leap, it's small things from his takeoff to what he's looking at. I thought his best day of practice was [Wednesday]. Sometimes you won't see it because it's the little things, but I think he is progressing. (We) just got to stay positive with him, believe in him and it will come."
One reason Gholston landed in Chicago after being waived by the Jets is because the Bears envisioned him as a better fit in a 4-3 defense, as opposed to the 3-4 scheme run in New York. It doesn't sound as if Gholston's transition has been seamless by any stretch of the imagination, but the defensive end believes he's making improvements to his game.
"It's one of those things where you look at it for what it is," Gholston said. "I'm two weeks maybe into practice, so you say, shoot, if you look at it day by day you kind of get down on yourself. But you can say it's only been two weeks, so imagine another two weeks and another two weeks from there. So that's what you got to keep focusing on."