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Preseason Game #4 – Observations

Sanzenbacher Is A Perfect Fit For Martz’s Offense

By Tim Hiller

It’s the final preseason game of the season and for most fans and many starters it’s a sleeper, but many players on the field Thursday tried to prove they deserve a uniform come Sunday—from any team. Front offices around the league are putting the final touches on their 53 man rosters and watching closely for roster spots and special team’s impact while scouting other team’s players who could be released in the coming days. Saturday is a big day for many players whose future in the NFL will be decided. This game means little record-wise, but it means so much for those participating. After watching the game, I had the following observations:

#12 CALEB HANIE – As an undrafted rookie, Hanie has to prove himself as a proven backup quarterback despite the fact that he has had an up and down career. The belief is that Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz does not have the confidence in Hanie to be the team’s backup. After playing 2 series in tonight’s game, Hanie was 7 of 10 for 83 yards with a 19 yard touchdown pass to Johnny Knox in the corner of the end zone. Hanie looked crisp with his throws and took what the Browns defense gave him by dumping off passes to receivers and throwing the ball away in the red zone when the pass wasn’t there. Hanie’s overall awareness and comfort in the pocket seemed evident. After his performance in the NFC Championship game last year and this year’s pre-season, Hanie deserves to be the backup quarterback.

#29 CHESTER TAYLOR – A ten-year veteran proving to the rest of the league that he deserves a spot on an NFL roster, Taylor showed flashes of his running ability. He was continually dodging would-be blockers to gain extra yards or get back to the line of scrimmage. Averaging only 2.7 yards per carry is not awe inspiring, but there was something about watching Taylor run. He’s a valuable asset in the passing game, demonstrating the ability to get out on screen plays, and tonight gaining 18 yards on 2 catches. It seems Taylor’s days as a Chicago Bear are numbered with the free agent signing of Marion Barber, but an NFL team is going to get a heck of a football player.

#70 NICK REED – A player who has been playing for his NFL career in past seasons, Reed has a high motor, chasing the quarterback in and out of the pocket. Reed showed if he was not going to get to the quarterback he’s going to stay home and knock the pass down; he did this twice in one quarter tonight. In a goal line situation, Reed penetrated the line of scrimmage to tackle the running back for a loss and a turnover on downs. One noticeable downfall: he gets held up on blocks at the line of scrimmage and has a hard time getting away. Can Nick Reed slip onto the roster a as 3rd pass rusher with the injury of Corey Wooten? Probably not. He’ll end up on a practice squad.

#32 KHALIL BELL – Before injuring his ankle during the game, Bell proved he is the 3rd string running back. He showed great leg drive and the ability to cut to a different hole and gain 26 yards on 8 carries. A noteworthy run for Bell was on his longest gain of the night for 7 yards, Bell was stopped near the line of scrimmage and fought and dragged defenders for a positive gain. He is a tough runner looking for contact. Bell has proven himself as a special teams player and solidified his roster spot.

#18 DANE SANZENBACHER – This season’s potential surprise player, Sanzenbacher has the ability to get open and seems to be a quarterback’s dream. He was targeted 8 times tonight. Impressively, on a 3rd and 8 play, he beat the corner and ran a post route and got open, but quarterback Nathan Enderle over threw the pass. Starting the season as the team’s 6th wide receiver, Sanzenbacher will need to contribute on special teams and tonight showed the he can return punts. He’s not going to “wow” you with his size and stature, but Sanzenbacher is a player who will do his job and do it well. After watching him play, he seems like a perfect fit for Martz’s offense as a slot receiver.


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2 Responses to “Preseason Game #4 – Observations”

  1. bob says:

    Picked up Dane with last pick of my Fantasy Draft today before official announcement of his making the team. He is gonna suprise people

  2. Tim Hiller says:

    I’m glad you made the move to pick up Sanzenbacher. I think given time he is going to turn into a good 3rd or 4th receiver for the Bears. Will he put up great fantasy numbers. I’m not sure because I don’t think he is going to get many targets and especially when Earl Bennett comes back. Good luck with your fantasy selection.

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