Cards game important for bubble players
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- With final cuts lurking a week from Saturday, only a few chances remain for players on the bubble to impress the coaching staff. Since the organization usually knows the final-53 man roster before the final preseason game is played, this weekend's matchup against Arizona is pivotal.
Here is quick look at three players fighting to earn a roster spot.
Jarron Gilbert: It doesn't look good for Gilbert, especially after general manager Jerry Angelo publicly challenged the 2009 third-round pick before the second preseason game.
"I use that as motivation, definitely, but I put pressure on myself as well," Gilbert said of Angelo's comments. "If I feel I'm not performing, I always feel that pressure to step it up."
"He's one of the guys fighting for a spot that needs to make some plays, simple as that," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. "The guys that have an opportunity to play, we'll put them out on the field and let them show us they belong on the 53- or 61-man roster."
"I feel like I can show them more, definitely," Gilbert said.
Garrett Wolfe: Khalil Bell is built like a more complete back, but Wolfe always had the edge in the special teams department. However, Bell performed well on special teams during the first preseason game, and if that continues, Wolfe may be pushed off the roster.
"It's not something that we discussed or sat down in a round table type of setting," Wolfe said of his roster status. "We just discuss going out and competing and just letting the cards fall as they may. That's all I'm concerned with. [I] just want to go out and compete and control what I can control, and that's just going out and going hard."
Wolfe received more touches on offense last weekend, and if he hits on a big play or two in the next game, maybe he can change some minds at Halas Hall.
Tim Shaw: Here is where the NFL becomes a cold business. Despite recording 30 special teams tackles last year, Shaw is still on the bubble, because in order to keep an additional specialist, that player must be able to make the gameday 45-man roster.
"I didn't pick up where I left off [in terms of special teams], but I've definitely had big improvement from Game 1 or Game 2," Shaw said. "It's just a matter of getting comfortable again to the speed. This week I'm going to improve even more in the game, and I'm excited to get back to where I was last year. It actually took me a little while to get going last year, but that's why I need these preseason games to get back to speed."
Further complicating matters for Shaw was the addition of Todd Collins. With the Bears expected to keep three quarterbacks, that leaves one fewer spot for those players on the bubble.
"If I'm supposed to be here, I'll be here," Shaw said.
If the most talented 53 players make the final roster, Shaw will be here. But that's not always the case in the NFL.