By Bryan Dietzler
The Bears have been moving some players around over the past few days and there are some interesting things to look at with these moves at this time. There have been some players put on injured reserve, some players let go and some players added to the roster. The Bears appear to be an “ever changing” team and are continuously trying to make this roster better and these recent moves are aimed to do just that. The Bears are continually striving to get better and they feel that these moves are making them better.
The following is a summary of the moves that the Bears have made over the course of the past few days. There is a detailed look at the move and how it influences the team. There is also a look at how the move might affect the future of the team.
The Bears placed wide receiver Marquess Wilson on injured reserve last week. He had suffered a foot injury in practice a couple of weeks ago and apparently, the injury was not going to be healed up any time soon. He did undergo surgery on that foot and should be healed up and ready to go by next training camp. One thing the Bears may want to keep in mind is that Wilson does have a history of being injured. He spent the better part of last season injured and ended his season this year on the injured reserve so the Bears may want to take that into account. If he comes back healthy and can contribute then he should be a part of the Bears active roster next season.
Chicago also placed safety Antrel Rolle on injured reserve this week. Rolle, who had suffered a knee injury in a later in the week practice a few weeks ago, tried to give a go of it in practice last week but must have not been able to do any better on the knee and was shut down for the season. The Bears brought Rolle in thinking that he could be a solid solution at one of the safety positions but his knee injury, coupled with an ankle injury he suffered earlier in the year, kept him out of a majority of the games this season. Chicago signed Rolle to a three-year contract and they have a decision to make with him this offseason. He is an older safety who proved this year that he has an injury history and may not be as durable as the team may want him to be. It will be interesting to see what they do with him in the offseason in deciding whether or not to bring him back. Was the experiment with Rolle just a one year try out or will he be back next season?
After many reports and stories, including one by this writer, the Bears did what many people thought they would and placed wide receiver Kevin White on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. White had been practicing heavily with the team the last couple of weeks and it appeared as if he could play and was fully healed (according to head coach John Fox White’s leg was indeed fully healed). The Bears really don’t have anything to play for in terms of the playoffs any more so it may be better for them to sit White for the rest of the season, allow him to make sure he is fully healed from the injury and play him next season. Look for White to make an impact next season and hopefully be fully healed and ready to go.
The experiment with Ziggy Hood is now over. The Bears brought Hood in after they cut defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff and thought that the former first rounder might be able to contribute. After spending some time inactive for the first few games he was a Bear Hood saw little action on defense and was a non-factor. This isn’t a surprising move by the Bears but one that showed that Hood may not be a solid player in the league anymore and could be finished in the NFL.
With the release of Hood, the Bears elevated linebacker John Timu from the practice squad to the active roster. Timu had played for the Bears in the preseason and did a good job having some nice plays before the regular season started. This may be a move to enhance special teams or, and it’s not out of the question to assume that Timu could be inserted into the lineup and play a few snaps. We will see what the Bears decide to do with him.
Chicago also brought Demontre Hurst up from the practice squad. Hurst should see some time on special teams and could see some action in the secondary.
With two spots open on the practice squad after calling up Timu and Hurst the Bears brought in defensive lineman Toby Johnson and wide receiver/tight end Marcus Lucas. These two will help fill up the practice squad and give the Bears their full complement of players on that unit. There isn’t much information about these two new players at this time.
Following the placement of tight end Martellus Bennett on injured reserve the Bears signed former Arizona Cardinals tight end Rob Housler. Housler should be a backup tight end on the squad for the remainder of the season and may get more playing time in the last three games. He may not see a lot of action with Zach Miller doing a good job as the replacement tight end for Bennett but he should be inserted into the offense as a blocker or could be used on special teams.
Finally, one last move that the Bears made over the last few days was to fill another roster spot with a quarterback this time. They added Matt Blanchard to the practice squad giving them a third quarterback on the roster and adding some much needed depth at the position. Don’t look for Blanchard to be elevated to the active roster this year but he might play a hand in the Bear’s training camp next summer.
So the Bears continue to make moves despite the fact the season is almost over. It just goes to show that they are trying to make this team better and trying to get a roster put in place that will have them winning games in the future. Some of their moves show that the Bears don’t waste time with players that don’t fit their system. It also shows that they aren’t going to be too patient with players that are injured that will probably not be back for the rest of the season. This is a different management team and a different philosophy and this should work out well for the Bears in the end.