Four Bears On The Bubble Big Time.............

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Four Chicago Bears fighting for their careers this Thursday Night
    By Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.@wiltfongjr on Aug 27 2013, 11:15a 27
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    With one wave of cuts down, the Chicago Bears will need to trim the roster a final time after their last preseason game against the Cleveland Browns. Here are four Bears players that the coaches will be giving plenty of opportunities to sink or swim.

    The Chicago Bears are like most teams as they head into the 4th preseason game. They have most of their starters set in stone and prepared to play as little as possible, if at all. After the starting 22, the kicker, and the punter, there are another handful of players that are comfortable in being locks for their teams final roster.

    With most rosters at 75 heading into that last game, that leaves about 40 players fighting for their NFL lives. The Bears will get long looks at a lot of bubble players this Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns, and I'll spotlight four players that will be given every opportunity to shine. J'Marcus Webb, Brandon Hardin, Fendi Onobun, and Armando Allen.

    1) Offensive Tackle, J'Marcus Webb
    This off season Webb was moved to the right side, he was demoted, he had his pay slashed, and now his roster spot is in jeopardy. The last two weeks he's been getting action on the left side to see if he can be the swing tackle for the '13 Bears. With tackle Jonathan Scott's injury lingering, Webb has had the lion's share of reps since his demotion, and the Bears are giving the 4th year pro every chance to win the job.

    Yesterday morning on the Score, Mike Mulligan was discussing the probable scenario that played out when Webb was approached by the Bears about the pay cut. He speculated that Webb should have immediately informed his agent, then Webb's agent would have started calling other teams to gauge interest if his client was cut. He's was guessing that there wasn't a lot of positive feedback from other teams about Webb, otherwise they would have turned down the Bears offer, and took their chances on the open market.

    One might argue that Webb has played real good for a 7th round draft pick, and to them I'd say that draft status means squat once you get through your rookie year. He has 44 starts under his belt, and heading into his 4th professional season he shouldn't be regressing. Especially after improving in each of the last two years.
    With Scott still not practicing after having his knee scoped, I think Webb makes the team. The only way I see Webb looking for a new home, is if he really blows it on Thursday.

    2) Safety, Brandon Hardin
    Hardin is practice squad eligible, so they have that option, but I expect he'll receive plenty of reps against the Browns. With veteran Tom Zbikowski no longer clogging up the depth chart, Hardin will have time to shine. If Chris Conte and Major Wright even play, it'll be nothing more than a token appearance, so the safety spots will be left to the remaining 4 on the roster. Last year the Bears opened up with five safeties on the final 53 man roster, so Hardin has better odds than some other positions.

    Hardin will have to hope his athleticism shines through on the special teams, because his safety experience is lacking. And for those of you hoping for a Danieal Manning like position change for the kid, that ain't happening. Hardin is strictly a safety, he's too stiff in the hips to go back to corner, and he's not big enough to move to linebacker. He definitely has potential to be a productive NFL player, but how many spots can the Bears afford to give to potential?

    I think Hardin ends up released, and the Bears will try and sign their 2012 3rd round draft pick to the practice squad.

    3) Tight End, Fendi Onobun
    Onobun looks the part, he's big (260) and tall (6'6"), he's a fluid athlete, he's had scouts from six different NFL teams want to take a chance on him, but he's just not a very good football player. Can he become one? Sure, I suppose it's possible, but his last chance with the Bears may be this Thursday. Reports from training camp have Onobun looking good, but if a player can't perform on the big stage, he usually ends up looking for work.

    Starting tight end Martellus Bennett had a long heart to heart talk with Onobun over the weekend. His message, 'stop thinking so much'. Bennett is good counsel for Onobun, since they've known each other for 12 years, and were former basketball teammates in high school. Maybe having a friend at his position, to help mentor him through the season, will be something the Bears take into consideration when cut down day approaches.

    Bears head coach Marc Trestman sure sounds like he's willing to give Fendi the benefit of the doubt, "He's just got to work through this phase,'' Trestman said. ‘‘When he gets under the lights, [he has] to play consistently. I think he can do that down the road." Does he mean down the road in Chicago?
    Trestman has also had Onobun running with the ones in some sets during practice and in the preseason games. I think the coaches believe football will click for their inexperienced project at some point, and they'd rather it be while a member of the Bears.

    I'd expect both Onobun and fellow TE Kyle Adams to get a lot of time against the Browns, Adams brings more versatility, but Onobun is a much more dynamic athlete. There is a posibility they carry four TEs, but another position would then suffer.

    I don't have a strong feeling one way or the other on Onobun's roster status. What I see on the field is a player not ready for prime time, but the coaches sure seem to talk him up. Perhaps his roster spot is connected to the final game more than any other player on the Bears. If he can stop thinking so much, and just play, maybe he makes a few catches against the Browns to show the coaches their work is paying off. But if he has any more drops, he's probably gone.

    4) Running back, Armando Allen
    Allen looked like a roster lock before he starting nursing his hamstring, and unheralded Michael Ford became the big star of the preseason. Allen was running with the ones in a few sets in training camp, and his receiving ability and his scatback look differentiated him from the two guys ahead of him on the depth chart. Allen was finally back at practice yesterday, but he'll still have to show that his all around game gives the Bears more upside than the hungry Ford.

    Allen was a core special teamer last year, but Ford played special teams at LSU. That was one of the reasons the Bears signed him. The one plus Allen has over Ford, and it's a big plus, is he's a better pass blocker. If Ford struggles in picking up the blitz, don't expect Marc Trestman to put him on offense very often.

    If healthy, I think Allen ultimately has the experience to make the roster, but I also think they hold on to Ford. Ford has shown too much this preseason to expose to the waiver wire, and with an offensive minded head coach, I think they will sacrifice a spot on the defensive side of the ball to carry four running backs.

    What bubble players will you be focusing on this Thursday night?
  2. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    1) as long as Scott is hurt Webb is, rather unfortunately, safe

    2) if there is anyone that can replace him, he's gone from what i've heard he hasn't really impressed to this point

    3) so apparently everything I read is the guy on gameday isn't the guy in practice...either it's nerves or something else, I just cannot see this guy taking a spot if he brings nothing to the table

    4) Allen was also a 4 phase ST'r and right now Ford is the 3rd KR behind Hester/Weems and the 2nd PR behind Hester(if I remember correctly). If Allen is healthy he probably makes the team, if not Ford will get it, as long as he's more then just a KR/PR.
  3. little bear

    little bear Assistant Head Coach

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    Don't care what MBennett says, Onobun SUCKS. Period.

    Webb has been a disappointment so far, but we need offensive line depth.

    Ford is faster, taller, stronger and a better athlete than Allen. Keep Ford as #3.

    No way the Bears sign Hardin to the PS, other teams will claim him off waivers first. I do agree that he hasn't impressed a lot, however he's still a better backup than Steltz or Nelson. What happens if one of our starting safeties goes down? Hardin has got potential, he just needs a little more playing time.
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  4. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Agreed
    Agreed

    how do you get he's faster then Allen? Allen is a scat back that broke a 47 yard long run in an actual NFL game against starting NFL caliber players. Ford, while he has had a few impressive goal line runs, and a good KR is averagig a whopping 62 yards on 31 attempts(2ypc) against mostly guys that won't be in the NFL this year, he's had 2 10 yard scampers, yet you think he's a better and more polished back then Allen in the reg season last year was averaging 4.6 yards per carry?

    Listen, if Allen isn't healthy and therefore cannot contribute, then dump him and move on...but lets not make Ford out to be some kind of pre season hero either.

    Again this goes back to, do the backups contribue on ST's, and Steltz does...not sure if Hardin does. Hardin by all reports has been on the hotseat most of TC and PS, so people watching have reason to worry.
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  5. DaTreeBears

    DaTreeBears Veteran

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    Onobun scares me more than Webb and that's pretty bad. You either have hands or you don't. How many times do see this kind of problem reverse itself? I hope they throw him boat load on Thursday if he drops one more catch-able ball I would hope he's out of the running.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013
  6. JoeBear

    JoeBear Rookie

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    There are going to be lots of young talent available in the next week or so. Several rookies that the Bears may have considered, but did not have a chance to draft may become available. I can not see sticking these guys, particularly Webb and Allen, on the bench. Then when they need them it will be the same old crap. Bring in a young guy who will learn and get better. If they can't break the starting line up after 2 or 3 years, move on. Having back ups that can't play is a waste.
  7. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    Somehow I think we'll still be stuck w/Webbhead. Hardin will stick I think just because of Emery wanting to hold onto him (see E.Rod). Cinnabon can go. If Allen is still hurt they can park him on I.R.
  8. lklrlolnlilklsox

    lklrlolnlilklsox Position Coach

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    Ford has also played all four phases this preseason - only he has return ability that Allen doe snot. Ford is tougher, stronger, faster and infinitely better between the tackles. It's a no-brainer for me to keep a potential 3-down back over a situational scatback with vastly overrated ST ability.
  9. lklrlolnlilklsox

    lklrlolnlilklsox Position Coach

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    Webb is a better OT than Scott when both are healthy, Scott can take a limp.
  10. Xa0sG0rilla

    Xa0sG0rilla Veteran

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    I like Allen, he is a proven situational player and special team player. Ford strikes me as a player who could become more than that, possibly a player who could be a rough analoge to M. Bush, at a fraction of the price. I think the Bears should keep the better player. To my mind that is Ford, he is at least comparable to Allen, but with more potential upside. Another way of putting it is this: If you need a 2 or 3 down RB because your #1 is playing hurt, the #2 is out (or the reverse is the case) then do you want a player like Allen or a player like Ford? I choose Ford.
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  11. little bear

    little bear Assistant Head Coach

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    Fixed it for ya. ;-)
  12. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Actually Ford has 101 yards rushing on 30 attempts and another 52 receiving plus a very long KOR that nearly went for six. He's also been playing with second string lineman and a second string QB so comparing his production with Allen's during the 2012 season isn't apples to apples. He's also made a couple of nice plays in kick coverage so they're more equal than you think.

    I think what it comes down to is Allen's hammy and Fords ability to block on blitzes. The two or them will square off Thursday night so we'll see how it goes down but right now I'd say Ford has an advantage unless Allen seriously outplays him in the Browns game.

    Hardin plays STeams. In fact that's his strength right now until he learns the Safety spot. If it came down to Steltz and Hardin all things being equal you have to go with Hardin because of his speed, size and upside. Steltz is a good as he'll ever be and in pass coverage that's not very good.
  13. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Not necessarily. That was the rap on Jennings. He dropped too many picks. So he spent the offseason working on it and goes out and leads the NFL in picks. Onobun may not be a natural pass catcher but he can learn which is what it seems they're trying to do with him.
  14. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    True but that sure ain't sayin' much.
  15. stonehouse91

    stonehouse91 Rookie

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    That whole pass protection thing keeping Allen on the roster is stupid if you ask me. Lets say Bush or Forte go down, if it's 3rd down the healthy guy will be in there of Forte and Bush not Armando Allen or Ford, if its an obvious passing down and both Bush and Forte are hurt, would you rather have someone like Maneri/Adams/Fiametta being an extra blocker or Allen/Ford? I'd pick the TE/FB over Allen or Ford, so to me that argument is rather dumb with regards to a 3rd string RB. Special Teams is the argument and they are about even there, so it comes down to who do the coaches like more.

    I still feel like Webb has value, he makes next to nothing, certainly could fill in at LT or RT he would probably be better than Scott at both positions. So I'm not sure he goes anywhere.
  16. mdbearz

    mdbearz Veteran

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    I like Ford (similar to our Adrian Peterson) over Allen (another Garrett Wolfe type player).

    Onobun was wide open on two of those drops.... just saying that he has the knack to get open (Wide Open). He will need to catch everything in his zip code and score in order to make them double think cutting him.
  17. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    That kind or how I saw it too. Ford is a lot like AP but maybe a little more elusive as a runner. I'd take Allen over Wolfe for the same reason and he may be better at blocking than Ford. If Ford struggles with his blitz pickup he's gonna lose points but if not I think he'll edge Allen out.
  18. DaTreeBears

    DaTreeBears Veteran

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    You're comparing a CB to TE if CB drops no big deal would be nice for int but just knocking ball down is enough from them. However, TE that is his job and catching or not catching the ball like CB isn't option. Maybe he can improve his hands hope so for his sake because he 's on the proverbial bubble. At least this crew not selling him as elite TE.
  19. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    PS GM 1
    Michael Fordatt 6yds 15td 1lng 4
    Michael Fordrec 3yds 35td 0lng 13
    PS GM2
    Michael Fordatt 15yds 28td 0lng 10
    Michael Fordrec 2yds 1td 0lng 3
    PS GM3
    Michael Fordatt 9yds 58td 1lng 17
    Michael Fordrec 2yds 16td0 lng 11
    Against 2nd and 3rd PS:
    30 attempts 101 yards, 3.7 ypc
    7 rec 64 yds 9.14
    2 td's

    Allen last year reg season
    27 attmpts 124 yards 4.6 ypa
    2 rec 16 yards 8 ypc
    1 td

    Allen is also a key ST player last year in the reg season, Ford is showing he could also be but again that is also against scrubs, and Allen is also better at blitz protection, which is important since he's been practicing in pass plays where Forte's playing WR. Ya Ford is playing w/and against 2nd/3rd stringers, but that's the point, it's hard to say he's outplaying or better then Allen when Allen has played better against real competition.

    If Allen is in fact hurt, then you replace him no questions asked, but if both are healthy then I think they have a hell of a decision on their hand. I think it's a shame they cannot keep both really. Ford probably does have a higher ceiling to be a #2, but Allen is a legit change of pace back that the team really doesn't have, he's a legit home run threat that even Forte/Bush aren't(Forte frusteratingly gets caught from behind often). Ford is in no shape way or form faster then Allen but he is definately bigger and stronger and could be a nice replacement to Bush next year if he continues to develop.

    I have no real comment other then what has been talked about on ESPN chicago and 670 the score and what's been written on the net and in the newspapers about the situation, and a lot of said Hardin has had a bad camp and is on the hot seat. If he makes the team over Steltz, sweet was never a fan of Steltz's anyway, so in that I hope you're right.
  20. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    He scares me too. Serious question here. Have we ever seen a Bears player develop "good hands" and overcome the stone-hands thing? Maybe this has happened and I just can't remember. But it seems like we've had a boat load of stone hands guys who we kept around just to see them STAY stone hands guys until we got rid of them.

    He's the TE version of J'Marcus Webb - INCONSISTENT and can't be counted on when you need him.

    I think we're in denial if we think this guy is going to ever be a guy who can be counted on to catch the ball in key situations. I've seen THIS before and know the ending. It sucks.

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