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updated: 8/29/2014 7:16 PM

Breaking down the Bears' roster options

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  • If the Bears are worried that another team would try to sign reserve quarterback David Fales, they may opt to keep him on their 53-man roster.

      If the Bears are worried that another team would try to sign reserve quarterback David Fales, they may opt to keep him on their 53-man roster.
    Associated Press

 
 

The Bears roster currently stands at 70 players, but it must be reduced to 53 by 3 p.m. Saturday.

Starting at noon Sunday, however, team officials can bring back as many as 10 of their late cuts to form the practice squad.

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Last year's opening-day roster included nine defensive linemen, eight offensive linemen, six wide receivers, six linebackers, six cornerbacks, four safeties, four tight ends, four specialists (including Devin Hester, who was strictly a kick-returner), three running backs, two quarterbacks and one fullback.

The numbers at each position should be similar this year, although the Bears will not keep four tight ends. They also might have to keep three quarterbacks on the roster to avoid losing sixth-round rookie David Fales through waivers as a way to get him on the practice squad.

How will the pieces -- or players -- fall in place? The proposed positional breakdowns are for informational purposes only. Numbers in parentheses indicate players at each position on the opening-day 53-man roster in 2013.

QUARTERBACKS (2)

Locks: Jay Cutler, Jimmy Clausen.

On the bubble: David Fales.

The Bears consider Fales a keeper. It's only a question of whether they'll make him one of the 53 or try to push him through waivers and hope he doesn't get picked up so they can put him on the practice squad.

RUNNING BACK (3)

Locks: Matt Forte, Ka'Deem Carey.

On the bubble: Senorise Perry, Shaun Draughn.

Practice squad possibility: Jordan Lynch (cut Friday).

Perry has the edge over Draughn because he's four years younger and has made an impact on special teams. Lynch is clearly a project, but he offers a unique skill set for a team willing to utilize his multiple talents.

FULLBACK (1)

Good bet: Tony Fiammetta.

Fiammetta is the only fullback on the roster, although the Bears could use an extra tight end as a lead blocker in the few instances when they run out of a two-back (21) formation. Fiammetta's special teams contributions weigh in his favor.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)

Locks: Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Marquess Wilson, Santonio Holmes, Josh Morgan.

On the bubble: Josh Bellamy, Micheal Spurlock, Chris Williams.

Practice squad possibility: Dale Moss.

The Bears could make room for an additional wideout by placing Wilson on the injured reserve/designated to return list, since his fractured collar bone probably won't be healed until some time in October. To do that, Wilson has to be on the original 53, but they can put him on the list Tuesday and add another player. That would make Wilson ineligible to play until Week Nine.

Teams, however, can use the injured/reserve/designated player option only once a season, so it would not be available if, say, another key player is hurt.

Given his slight frame and fragility, Williams is a gamble, but he has big-play potential as a receiver/returner. If Holmes becomes the punt returner, it lessens the need for a return specialist. Spurlock got a lot of opportunities in that area, but did not impress.

TIGHT ENDS (4)

Locks: Martellus Bennett.

Good bet: Dante Rosario, Matthew Mulligan.

With Bennett's all-around ability to block and catch, it lessens the need for one-dimensional backups. Rosario is the best receiver of the backups and a factor on special teams. Mulligan is considered the best blocker and flashed underrated receiving skills in the preseason.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)

Locks: Jermon Bushrod, Matt Slauson, Roberto Garza, Kyle Long, Jordan Mills.

Good bet: Charles Leno, Eben Britton, Michael Ola, Brian de la Puente.

On the bubble: Taylor Boggs, Ryan Groy.

Practice squad possibility: Both bubble boys are eligible.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

Locks: DE Jared Allen, DE Lamarr Houston, DT Jeremiah Ratliff, DT Stephen Paea, DE Willie Young, DT Ego Ferguson, DT Will Sutton.

Good bet: DE Trevor Scott, DE David Bass,

On the bubble: DE Austen Lane.

Practice squad possibility: DE Cornelius Washington.

Even though they kept nine last year, the Bears' were devastated by injuries, a shortcoming that proved to be disastrous. Don't expect them to keep less than nine, and they could go with 10.

Houston, because he can move inside to tackle, provides flexibility if they only keep four true tackles. That could allow them to hang on to six defensive ends.

LINEBACKERS (6)

Locks: Lance Briggs, Shea McClellin, D.J. Williams, Jon Bostic, Christian Jones.

Good bet: Khaseem Greene.

On the bubble: Jerry Franklin, DeDe Lattimore.

Jones should probably be a "bubble" guy, but he has too much upside to risk losing him. Franklin brings added value as a solid special teams guy. Greene hasn't wowed anyone, but the 2013 fourth-round pick should get another year.

Practice squad possibility: Lattimore.

CORNERBACKS (6)

Locks: Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, Kyle Fuller, Sherrick McManis.

On the bubble: Kelvin Hayden, Demontre Hurst, C.J. Wilson, Al Louis-Jean.

If it comes down to value on special teams, Hurst made the biggest splash in the preseason. Hayden has extensive experience, but he's also 31.

SAFETIES (4)

Locks: Ryan Mundy, Danny McCray, Brock Vereen, Chris Conte.

On the bubble: M.D. Jennings, Marcus Trice.

Mundy should start at strong safety, while free safety remains up for grabs. It was tough to evaluate Conte on just a handful of snaps, but his body of work includes much more than a yearlong slump in 2013.

SPECIALISTS (4)

Locks: PK Robbie Gould, P Pat O'Donnell.

On the bubble: LS Brandon Hartson.

If a proven veteran comes available after final cuts, the Bears will take a look. Hartson, a first-year player, is untested and inexperienced. He won the job from Chad Rempel in training camp, but that just means he wasn't quite as inconsistent.

• Follow Bob's Bears and NFL reports on Twitter@BobLeGere.

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