The Bears 53-man roster is set for the regular season.
On Monday, the team released last year’s fifth-round draft pick Joshua Moore and signed running back Armando Allen (Notre Dame) to the practice squad. The drop of Moore, an undersized cornerback from Kansas State, means Corey Graham is ready to make a contribution in the defensive backfield this season – if necessary.
Depth is an issue at the position, but not if Graham plays like he did in ’08, when he started nine games at the spot. The New Hampshire product might be called upon to play significant snaps in the secondary, when you consider the frailty of Zackary Bowman. At first glance, you may see the 2007 fifth-rounder Graham and compare his physique and physical style to Charles Tillman.
As for the 5-foot-8, 200-pound Allen, he rounds out the eight-man practice squad. Originally, he was signed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent. It’s peculiar to see the Bears cut one Notre Dame back (Robert Hughes) for another Fighting Irish runner. The two differences I found between the two ball carriers: size, production at collegiate level.
Although, Hughes (5’11”, 233) provided more of a daunting stature, Allen’s presence at ND was felt considerably larger due to an impressive resume. The accomplished, more decorated Allen is the club’s fourth option after Forte, Barber, and Bell. Chester Taylor (Arizona Cardinals) and Harvey Unga (reserve/left squad list) are no longer in the squad’s plans. However, Unga, who the Bears don’t have to make a decision on until he returns, possibly could be in the big picture down the road. Overall, don’t expect either Allen or Unga to make an impact in 2011.
The seven other members of the Bears practice squad: WR Kris Adams (Texas El Paso), OG Ricky Henry (Nebraska), OT Levi Horn (Montana), DT Jordan Miller (Southern), TE Andre Smith (Virginia Tech), LB Patrick Trahan (Mississippi), S Anthony Walters (Delaware). Note: It’s strange to see the Bears field more safeties than corners. With the addition of Brandon Meriweather and the retaining of Winston Venable, the safeties (seven) outnumber the cornerbacks (five) when you count the practice squad. Stay tuned to see where Chris Conte (third round, Cal) and Craig Steltz land on the initial injury report for Wednesday.
Bears 53-man roster:
Quarterbacks (3): Jay Cutler, Caleb Hanie, Nathan Enderle
Running backs (3): Matt Forte, Marion Barber, Kahlil Bell
Wide receivers (6): Johnny Knox, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Dane Sanzenbacher, Roy Williams, Sam Hurd
Tight ends (3): Kellen Davis, Matt Spaeth, Kyle Adams
Fullbacks (1): Will Ta’ofu’ou
Offensive tackles (3): J’Marcus Webb, Gabe Carimi, Frank Omiyale
Offensive guards (3): Chris Williams, Lance Louis, Edwin Williams
Centers (2): Roberto Garza, Chris Spencer
Defensive ends (5): Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije, Corey Wootton, Mario Addison, Nick Reed
Defensive tackles (5): Henry Melton, Anthony Adams, Matt Toeaina, Amobi Okoye, Stephen Paea
Linebackers (5): Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Nick Roach, Dom DeCicco, Brian Iwuh
Cornerbacks (5): Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, Zackary Bowman, D.J. Moore, Corey Graham
Safeties (6): Chris Harris, Major Wright, Brandon Meriweather, Chris Conte, Craig Steltz, Winston Venable
Kickers (1): Robbie Gould
Punters (1): Adam Podlesh
Long snappers (1): Patrick Mannelly
DNR Exemption: RB Harvey Unga
Injured Reserve: LB J.T. Thomas
Notables cut: RB Taylor (Cardinals), TE Desmond Clark, DT Marcus Harrison (failed physical with Panthers)
The Bears kickoff Week one this Sunday at Soldier Field against the Atlanta Falcons.