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The Chicago Bears officially announced their eight man practice squad today, after cutting down to the 53-man roster yesterday.
The one surprise on the practice squad list is RB Harvey Unga who can't seem to find a position on the 53-man roster. Unga has shown some skills as a fullback and allowed the Bears to trade away Tyler Clutts.
Unga spent his first year on the IR and his second year on the reserve list. He started to make waves at camp with receiving ability and his willingness to learn how to block. Whether Unga can continue to develop remains to be seen, but it's clear he has taken a developmental step forward this offseason.
Also on offense the Bears kept two offensive tackles in UDFAs James Brown as a LT and Corey Brandon as a RT. Brown has been the better performing player of the two though is doesn't fit the prototype size of an offensive tackle.
Brandon on the other hand does fit that size and has shown some potential. He has a long ways to go in order to live up to his size and potential. Brandon is going to have to improve in a major way to have a shot at making the Bears roster in the future.
Of the two tackles Brown probably has the most promise of future development as he's shown good footwork and polish in the preseason. Still, Brown likely faces and equally tough uphill climb given his overall lack of size.
As expected runningback Armando Allen was kept on the practice squad and could be the first player signed off the Bears' practice squad by another team. Allen just missed making the 53-man roster and likely lost his spot due to the fact that the Bears couldn't stash Lorenzo Booker in the same role as they can Allen.
If for any reason Booker falters Allen would probably be immediately brought up based on his ability.
Quarterback Matt Blanchard is the Bears' developmental QB that will take a spot with the eight man group. Blanchard was among the first cuts to get to 75 and has shown some promise as the offseason has progressed. If an injury occurs to QB Jay Cutler and Jason Campbell is the starter it would seem highly unlikely that the Bears would sign Blanchard to the active roster to be the backup to Campbell. That first call would go to Josh McCown who arguably had a better preseason than Campbell. Perhaps the one surprise omission from the team is wide receiver Chris Summers who showed a lot of promise in camp. The 6-foot-5 wide receiver had a tremendous game against the Redskins, but came up short in his bid to remain with the Bears. The Bears instead go with receiver Joe Anderson a 6-foot-1 UDFA from Texas Southern. Perhaps a little Lovie Smith Texas bias went into Anderson's selection
, though he showed well in the first preseason game.