Chicago Bears: Top 5 Players in the Preseason Finale Against Cleveland

Gabe SalgadoCorrespondent IIIAugust 31, 2012

Chicago Bears: Top 5 Players in the Preseason Finale Against Cleveland

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    The starters did not play, and even some members of the second unit were kept out. But, that did not stop the Bears from defeating the Cleveland Browns 28-20 last night.

    The Bears finish the 2012 NFL preseason with a record of 3-1. Over these last four weeks, the offense has progressed, the defense has held itself together through injuries and stars are beginning to emerge.

    Most roster spots seemed to be locked down already, but for some spots, four games was not enough to settle things.

    The next few days will be tough for Bears head coach Lovie Smith and his staff as they decide who makes the team, who makes the practice squad and who gets sent into free agency.

    Here are the players who put on what will probably be the biggest performances of their careers...

No. 5: The Offensive Line

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    On Thursday night, the Bears sat their starting offensive line and gave the backups their time in the limelight.

    Because of this opportunity, guys like Ricky Henry, Edwin Williams, Chris Spencer and James Brown all gave the Bears' coaches something to think about as they decide how many offensive linemen they plan to keep.

    Josh McCown was not sacked at all during last night's game. They also did a solid job in run blocking as the Bears ran for a team total of 180 yards.

    The final cut-down day will be very interesting.

No. 4: The Defense

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    Sure, you can make the argument that this was just preseason, and it was just third-string players, but those third-string players went out and played Chicago Bears football last night.

    They held the Browns to just seven points in the first half. They also managed to grab a couple interceptions, one of which was taken back for a touchdown.

    Cornerback Greg McCoy was the only Bears defensive player to score a touchdown during the 2012 preseason.

    They also got two sacks and held Cleveland to just nine completed passes. Out of three quarterbacks used by the Browns, they only completed nine passes between them.

    Not bad for a bunch of guys who may have to find another team to play for once the final cuts are announced.

    The only negative was that the Bears allowed Cleveland to run for 196 yards. The run defense concerns me greatly as we head into the regular season.

No. 3: The Wide Receivers

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    We already know that Marshall, Hester, Bennett and Jeffery are the top four receivers on the depth chart. 

    So last night, the receivers at the bottom of the depth chart had one final chance to prove themselves. Sanzenbacher and Joe Anderson put up the best numbers as they combined for four catches and 49 yards.

    Eric Weems, Brittan Golden and Terriun Crump all had one reception each. This will be one of the more difficult decisions that the Bears' coaching staff will have to make on cut-down day.

No. 2: Armando Allen and Lorenzo Booker

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    After last night, both men have made sure that deciding who the third running back is will be the most difficult decision that Lovie Smith and company will have to make.

    Both men combined for 238 of the of the 337 total yards that the Bears gained on offense against the Browns.

    Armando Allen caught the Bears' second touchdown of the game, and both men averaged over five yards per carry.

    They also finished in the top three among Bears' receivers last night. Both of these men played their butts off without a doubt.

    After the numbers they put up against the Browns, I would not be surprised if the Bears find a way to keep both men on the roster. 

    But, I can tell you for sure that one of these men will probably end up on the practice squad as a worst-case scenario.

No. 1: Josh McCown

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    If it wasn't for Matt Blanchard getting cut earlier this week, then McCown would have only played the first half—three quarters at the most.

    But, with Blanchard gone {for now}, and with Cutler and Campbell being kept out, McCown got to play all 60 minutes last night.

    McCown put on his best performance of the preseason. He completed 20-of-29 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns.

    He looked like he was in control of the offense out there. He looked comfortable on the field which is something I cannot say about him for the first three games.

    It helped that he did not get sacked or put under too much pressure from the Browns defense. McCown looked good out there, and he needed to have a good game.

    I still think that Matt Blanchard will end up on the practice squad. But for now, McCown has earned the right to be the Bears' third-string quarterback in 2012.