Who makes the team? Handicapping the Bears’ roster after two preseason games

The Bears won’t reveal their true feelings until cut day. We’re under no such obligation.

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Bears players Anthony Miller, James Daniels, Bradley Sowell and Adam Shaheen leave the field in December.

AP Photos

Matt Nagy isn’t playing his starters in preseason games, and doesn’t want to tip his hand about the backups he likes.

“There were some guys that were able to put some things out there that we were able to see as coaches that we’ll keep confidential,” the Bears coach said Sunday. “What we like, who’s doing well and who’s not.”

The Bears won’t reveal their true feelings until cut day. Handicapping the Bears’ 53-man roster after two preseason games, we’re under no such obligation:

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks

They’ll likely keep: 2.

They’re in: Mitch Trubisky, Chase Daniel.

How they’ve looked: Uneven. Trubisky has struggled against his own defense, which might be the best in the league.

The question left to answer: Does Bray stay? The Bears have an exemption that would get veteran third-stringer Tyler Bray onto their practice squad.

Running backs

They’ll likely keep: 4.

They’re in: Tarik Cohen, David Montgomery, Mike Davis.

How they’ve looked:Montgomery was sharp enough in training camp that the Bears pulled him from their preseason game rotation after only 13 snaps. They believe he’s special.

The question left to answer: Is Whyte in? Seventh-round pick Kerrith Whyte flashed his speed on a kick return touchdown Friday that came back because of a penalty. He has the edge over Ryan Nall.

Wide receivers

They’ll likely keep: 7.

They’re in: Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Cordarrelle Patterson, Javon Wims, Riley Ridley.

How they’ve looked: Almost two full years removed from his ACL tear, Allen Robinson might never match the 1,400 receiving yards he totaled in 2015. But his 2019 total will be closer to that figure than the 754 yards he posted last year.

The question left to answer: Is Marvin Hall the seventh receiver? The Bears might be tempted to keep five tight ends instead, but Hall can contribute on kicks and punts. It might depend on how much faith they have in Wims, who’s posted a strong showing on offense, playing special teams.

Tight ends

They’ll likely keep: 5.

They’re in: Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen, Ben Braunecker.

How they’ve looked: Hurt.When Burton (groin surgery) and Shaheen (sore back) both played the majority of the Bears’ scrimmage Wednesday, it was a step up in endurance. The Bears are thin enough at the position that Braunecker hasn’t played an offensive snap during preseason games for fear of injury.

The question left to answer: Has Bradley Sowell done enough? The Bears say they’re impressed with his transition from tackle, but a blocking tight end can be found on the waiver wire after cut day. The Bears have been impressed by undrafted rookies Ian Bunting and Dax Raymond — in that order —but neither are blockers.

Offensive line

They’ll likely keep: 8.

They’re in: Charles Leno, Cody Whitehair, James Daniels, Kyle Long, Bobby Massie.

How they’ve looked: Boring. Daniels and Whitehair swapped positions with no fallout whatsoever.

The question left to answer:How much do they like Alex Bars? Recovered from knee surgery, the Notre Dame alum might be their best in-house bet to replace Long if the team doesn’t exercise his option next year. Ted Larsen figures to make the team as a backup guard/center. Rashaad Coward is the favorite to be the swing tackle, but he hurt his elbow Friday.

DEFENSE

Defensive line

They’ll likely keep: 5.

They’re in: Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Bilal Nichols, Roy Robertson-Harris.

How they’ve looked: Hicks and Goldman have been their dominant selves. But watch out for Nichols, whom the Bears believe is primed for a standout second season.

The question left to answer: Has Jonathan Bullard made the team? It might depend on what defensive linemen make it far down the waiver wire.

Inside linebacker

They’ll likely keep: 5.

They’re in: Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan, Nick Kwiatkoski, Joel Iyiegbuniwe.

How they’ve looked: Fantastic. After missing all of training camp last year, Smith looked like an all-pro in Bourbonnais. Trevathan changed his diet during the offseason and emerged, in a contract year, a leaner, faster player.

The question left to answer: How much special teams help do they need? Kevin Pierre-Louis provides solid special teams play. But Josh Woods, a converted college safety who leads them in preseason tackles, is intriguing.

Outside linebacker

They’ll likely keep: 4.

They’re in: Khalil Mack, Leonard Floyd, Aaron Lynch.

How they’ve looked: The former No. 9 overall pick, Floyd has underwhelmed in his first three seasons but could finally live up to his draft status. Mack was outstanding in his first Bears training camp.

The question left to answer: Can they ignore James Vaughters? The 26-year-old journeyman — he’s played for four NFL franchises but never in a regular-season game — has a strip-sack and two fumble recoveries, outplaying Isaiah Irving and Kylie Fitts. Irving might still be the favorite, but the Bears could easily pick up a veteran edge rusher on the waiver wire, too.

Cornerback

They’ll likely keep: 5.

They’re in: Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, Buster Skrine, Duke Shelley, Kevin Toliver.

How they’ve looked: Amukamara said he had the greatest training camp of his career, and Skrine looks like he’ll fit in fine.

The question left to answer: Does Clifton Duck make the team? The youngest player on the roster, the 21-year-old Duck has shown flashes all preseason. Friday night, heintercepted a pass at the 1-yard line and returned it 62 yards. He and John Franklin III look like practice squad candidates.

Safety

They’ll likely keep: 5.

They’re in: Eddie Jackson, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Deon Bush, DeAndre Houston-Carson, Sherrick McManis.

How they’ve looked: Eddie Jackson is back to his rangy, trash-talking self after missing the end of last season with a high-ankle sprain.

The question left to answer: How will Jackson and Clinton-Dix communicate? They need to find out in a game setting — but aren’t playing in preseason contests.

SPECIALISTS

They’ll likely keep: 3.

They’re in: P Pat O’Donnell, LS Patrick Scales.

How they’ve looked: Not good enough to inspire confidence. Eddy Pineiro is the last kicker standing after the team cut Elliott Fry, but he’s no lock to be in uniform on opening night.

The question left to answer: Will the Bears trade a draft pick for a kicker? Given their waiver order, it might be the only way to guarantee an upgrade over Pineiro.

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