Well, if I didn't have enough respect for GMs and coaches before, I definitely do now. I sat down with the Bears current roster and tried trimming it down to 53 men and then 8 practice squad members, thinking it should be pretty easy. HA! I was in for a treat.
The actual roster was hard enough, but the practice squad was just ridiculous. Trying to figure out who was eligible for it and who would clear waivers to be signed to the squad is like a guessing game.
So if you feel I left something (or someone) out that shouldn't be or kept someone on there that you think is stupid, please let me know. I was just happy that my math all worked out. Besides, constructive criticism is always welcomed.
So without further ado, the Chicago Bears 2009 roster (If it had to be done by tomorrow).
# of Quarterbacks = 3
Odd man out: N/A
# of Running backs = 3
Matt Forte, Kevin Jones, and Garrett Wolfe. Forte is a stud. We just re-signed Jones so he is safe (barring injury) and Wolfe is the change of pace back that seemingly all teams want to have.
Odd man out: Adrian Peterson. I wanted to find a way to keep him. His special teams abilities are great, he has great character, and is not a terrible backup running back. But we just can't have four.
# of Wide Receivers = 5
Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Brandon Rideau, Juaquin Iglesias, and Johnny Knox.
Hester, Bennett and Iglesias are easy keepers. Rideau has shown a lot of promise in the past couple years, so he is a go and while I think Knox should be on the practice squad, I am afraid he would not clear waivers.
Odd man out: Yup, Rashied Davis. It sucks. He had a bad season last year, but has made clutch catches and is one of two receivers that have caught a pass in the NFL last season that was on our roster. Truly breaks my heart.
# of Fullbacks = 1
THAT'S RIGHT, I said it. Goodbye mediocre McKie. No more fullback dives for no gain every week. We need a change and now is the time. Ta'ufo'ou runs low to the ground and knows how to hit (If this happens, a Ta'ufo'ou jersey would be sick to have).
Odd m(e)n out: McKie, of course, and back up Jason Davis.
# of Tight Ends = 3
Greg Olsen, Desmond Clark, and Michael Gaines.
Olsen and Clark have been a killer one-two punch and should only get better. Gaines will be able to come in and be a very effective run blocker and could even drop back in to the fullback slot.
Odd man out: Kellen Davis. This doesn't make a lot of sense to me since he is only in his second year and he could be good down the road.
If he cleared waivers, he would be good on the practice squad, but I think he played in more than nine games last year on special teams, so he might not be eligible for it. To bad.
# of Offensive Tackles = 3
Orlando Pace, Chris Williams, and Kevin Shaffer.
There would actually be four, since Frank Omiyale can slide into that tackle position as well, but he is a starting guard.
Not terrible options here, although Pace is older, Williams is unproven, and Shaffer's starting position on the Browns was taken by former Bear John St. Clair...Yes, it will be an interesting year.
Odd man out: Cody Balogh. If space was opened up at other positions, Balogh could slide in and ease some of the pressure. A good candidate for the practice squad, though.
# of Offensive Guards = 4
Roberto Garza, Frank Omiyale, Josh Beekman, and Tyler Reed.
Reed being the only surprise, he adds depth at a position that needs it considering Omiyale is a back up tackle and Beekman is the reserve center.
Odd men out: Dan Buenning and seventh round pick Lance Louis. Both could be sent to the practice squad, with Louis being the more intriguing of the two.
# of Centers = 1
Olin Kreutz... Questions?
Odd man out: N/A
Offensive total = 23
# of Safeties = 5
Kevin Payne, Craig Steltz, Josh Bullocks, Glenn Earl, and Danieal Manning.
Manning doesn't really count. He is listed as a safety on the roster, but if he is on the field during a defensive position, he needs to be a nickel corner. He is a miserable safety.
Odd man out: Sixth-round pick Al Afalava. Look for the practice squad.
# of Cornerbacks = 5
Charles Tillman, Nathan Vasher, Corey Graham, D.J. Moore, and Zachary Bowman.
There is talk of moving Graham to safety, which I am all for, because it would basically be flipping him and Manning. But otherwise a solid corps, if healthy.
Odd man out: Trumaine McBride. Another guy I don't want to see us lose, McBride had a great rookie year, but was just abused last season whenever he got into games.
With the addition of Moore and the potential of Bowman, I am afraid there just won't be a way to keep him.
# of Linebackers = 6
Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Pisa Tiniosamoa, Jamar Williams, Nick Roach, and Marcus Freeman.
Urlacher, Briggs, and Pisa are a given. Williams has been waiting in the wings for a chance to play, and the coaching staff seem to just love him.
Roach came in last year and played pretty well. He would have been the starter this year if it wasn't for the addition of Pisa.
Freeman is a rookie; a lot of people feel his upside is huge. He will learn well playing behind those three starters.
Odd men out: Hunter Hillenmeyer and Joey LaRocque. Hunter was a great guy, but in the end he just doesn't have a spot here. Look for him to be in one of the early cuts so he has a chance to jump on with another team.
LaRocque was another special team ace that Hester and Manning will probably miss more than one would think.
# of Defensive Ends = 5
Adewale Ogunleye, Alex Brown, Mark Anderson, Israel Idonije, and Henry Melton.
I want to put Melton on the practice squad, but there would be no way he'd make it through waivers. Idonije is listed as a DT but he can play anywhere on the line, so I put him here.
Odd man out: Ervin Baldwin. Another player who never really got a chance, he could be practice squad material if he is eligible.
# of Defensive Tackles = 5
Tommie Harris, Marcus Harrison, Jaron Gilbert, Dusty Dvoracek, and Anthony Adams.
Gilbert is listed as a DT but there was talk of him being capable of playing end as well which gives some more flexibility to the line. These four DT, if they stay healthy, and with the coach of "Hot" Rod Marinelli, could become a dominate force.
Odd man out: Matt "Big Toe" Toeaina. Toeaina got some playing time a couple years ago for the Bears when they suffered injuries and played pretty well. He just doesn't really have a spot on the roster and I am pretty sure he is not eligible for the practice squad.
Defensive total = 26
Punter = 1: Brad Maynard
Kicker = 1: Robbie Gould
Long Snapper = 1: Patrick Mannelly
Total players = 52 out of 53
That leaves one spot open. Fill it in. Personally, I keep A.P. for special teams skills.
Practice Squad players
(assuming they all clear waivers and are eligible. I tried checking that, but the rules are kinda funny so I may have missed something somewhere.)
1. Derek Kinder - seventh round pick as a wide receiver that has a lot of athletic ability.
2. Lance Louis - another seventh rounder, is a massive guard with a lot of upside.
3. Al Afalava - sixth round pick that needs to improve tackling.
4. Joe Clermond - a hybrid player who can play both end and linebacker.
5. Cody Balogh - Bears might need help at tackle if one or especially two of them go down. Balogh was on the team last year and should be improving.
6. Ervin Baldwin - if he makes it through waivers, look for Baldwin to replace either Clark or Gaines in the next few years.
7. Eric Peterman - wide receiver from Northwestern could be a future special teams stud.
8. Dahana Deleston - safety from UConn had a great Pro day, running a 4.43 40.
And there you have it. Might I have a different opinion once training camp starts AND ends? Yes.
Will the Bears do something sneaky like put a player they like on IR and let him learn the system? Almost certainly.
Do I hope the original A.P. has a spot on this team come September? More than anything.