There are a wealth of options for the Bears with the roster spot that remains open, but none of them are glamorous at this point.
The club elected not to sign someone to fill out the 53-man squad earlier this week after running back Cedric Benson was placed on injured reserve. Apparently, the decision was made that there isn’t a running back on the street right now who can step in and help. There are more than a handful of teams who operate with only four running backs on their roster, and that’s what the Bears have right now with Adrian Peterson backed by Garrett Wolfe and fullbacks Jason McKie and Lousaka Polite.
Polite will be active for the first time this season Sunday vs. the New York Giants, but doesn’t have a direct role carved out for himself. It could be the Bears are holding the 53rd spot to bring in a player when their next ``need’’ area pops up. Whoever is signed at whatever position is not going to be active, and by having a free spot open they could sign another player without having to place someone else on IR. That way there would be some flexibility if it was minor injury.
While Polite is going to be active, it’s tough to say if he will be the man to replace Peterson on special teams. Peterson has been a standout in that area, and Polite doesn’t have that kind of background on his resume. One possible scenario would be veteran linebacker Darrell McClover or rookie linebacker Nick Roach being active to help fill Peterson’s spot. McClover, who finished last season as one of the team’s top tacklers on teams, has been inactive seven of 11 weeks. Roach was picked up from San Diego less than two weeks ago.
Someone would have to sit out for a linebacker to step up. The best guess here would be wide receiver Mark Bradley, whose opportunities on offense have been scarce.
EXTRA POINTS: Giants rookie cornerback Aaron Ross (hamstring) is expected to be replaced by nickel back Kevin Dockery, who is only 5-8. That’s a matchup the Bears should look to exploit. Rookie Michael Johnson also figures to start in the secondary with a knee injury expected to sideline free safety Gibril Wilson for the first time this season. Reports out of New York are that ex-Bear R.W. McQuarters could potentially see some time at safety also.
*** Bruiser Reuben Droughns will not be the only back the Bears have to contain. Derrick Ward, who has been out since Oct. 21 with ankle and groin injuries, could actually get the start. Starter Brandon Jacobs, the Southern Illinois product, is out with a pulled hamstring.
*** Word is defensive linemen Tommie Harris and Dusty Dvoracek each have a friendly wager with special teams coordinator Dave Toub on the Big 12 Championship Game. Harris and Dvoracek starred at Oklahoma, and Toub was on the staff at Missouri from 1989-2000 before joining the NFL ranks.
*** Players received models of the NFC Championship trophy on Friday. They are roughly half the size of the real deal.
*** Ex-Bears wide receiver David Ball was signed to the New Yoek Jets practice squad this week.