The Bears reduced their roster to the requisite 53 players late Saturday afternoon, with few real surprises but a couple of impressive stories, particularly on the offensive and defensive lines.
Three undrafted rookies made the NFL roster: center Taylor Boggs, who played the entire Cleveland game and gave steadily improving play all through camp and preseason; defensive tackle Zach Minter, who began showing up with bull-rushes in camp pass-rush drills and carried it over to games; and cornerback C.J. Wilson, who had an interception at Oakland in addition to four tackles, one for loss, and two other pass deflections.
Here's the way the current roster breaks down:
Quarterback (2): Jay Cutler, Josh McCown
Analysis: The Bears have Jordan Palmer on speed-dial. They opted for the QBs already most up to speed with new offense.
Running back (4): Matt Forte, Michael, Bush, Michael Ford, Tony Fiammetta (FB)
Analysis: Ford offers help for Devin Hester on ickoff returns. Fiammetta is a force as a lead blocker.
Tight end (3): Martellus Bennett, Steve Maneri, Kyle Adams
Analysis: Fendi Onobun might return on practice squad or more eventually, but the coaches go for “dependable” with this group.
[RELATED: Urlacher hoping Marshall is right physically]
Wide receiver (6): Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Earl Bennett, Joe Anderson, Eric Weems, Marquess Wilson
Analysis: Keeping six gives the Bears insurance with the Marshall and Bennett injuries. Terrence Toliver is available for the practice squad.
Offensive line (9): Jermon Bushrod, Matt Slauson, Roberto Garza, Kyle Long, Jordan Mills, Eben Britton, James Brown, Taylor Boggs, Jonathan Scott
Analysis: Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer hinted at eight, but Boggs showed too much to risk sending him to the practice squad. And Scott provides proven depth.
Defensive end (5): Julius Peppers, Corey Wootton, Shea McClellin, Cornelius Washington, Cheta Ozougwu
Analysis: All won’t be active on game days, but the search is on for speed off the edge with Ozougwu and Washington.
Defensive tackle (4): Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, Nate Collins, Zach Minter
Analysis: Minter turned heads throughout camp to earn a spot in a strong rotation.
Linebacker (6): Lance Briggs, Jon Bostic, James Anderson, Blake Costanzo, Khaseem Greene, D.J. Williams
Analysis: Williams hasn’t had a special-teams tackle since ’05, but as Bostic’s backup he’ll have to contribute there.
Cornerback (6): Tim Jennings, Charles Tillman, Isaiah Frey, Zackary Bowman, Sherrick McManis, C.J. Wilson
Analysis: Frey won the nickelback job, and Wilson just kept making plays as a rookie free agent.
Safety (4): Major Wright, Chris Conte, Craig Steltz, Anthony Walters
Analysis: The Bears will be looking at the waiver wire for depth and special teams.
Specialists: Robbie Gould, Devin Hester, Adam Podlesh, Patrick Mannelly
Analysis: Hester is worth a roster spot apart from the offense’s 25 slots.