Tonight, the Cleveland Browns will take on the Chicago Bears for their fourth preseason game of the year. To help preview this week's game, I reached out to Kev from Windy City Gridiron and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!
Chris: "The Bears won their first two preseason games, but they were obliterated by the Seahawks in the first half of last week's game 31-0. Did that raise any major red flags for Bears fans, or was it not seen as too big of a deal?"
Kev: "As you can imagine, it depends on the fan. There have been two basic camps:
A>This is a true harbinger of doom, and the defense is old and bad and will never be able to keep up with the other teams in the conference.
B>This is a vanilla preseason game, that Pete Caroll plans for where the Bears do not. It is in no way an indicator.
There's a small subset that lives in the middle, that thinks "Yeah, the defense looks bad, but they'll probably try to adapt at some point in a game that matter." Some things to keep in mind are that the Bears have a 50% new defense, they didn't seem to be gameplanning, and there were a lot of individual bright spots. Performances in the first three weeks will be the most informative part, but for now I personally sit in the "let's wait and see" crowd."
Chris: "As you know, the Browns are quite thin at the wide receiver position right now. Are there any receivers on the Bears who have had a pretty good camp, but who you could see getting cut?"
Kev: "I'd like to say 'Sure, there's tons of castoffs,' but realistically, not so much. Some of the lower depth chart guys are having good preseasons, but it's been yet to be determined if that's simply because they're playing against the back side of the chart. You can expect Marshall, Jeffery, Josh Morgan, Marquess Wilson, to make it. Then probably Santonio Holmes and Chris Williams. That's six, and that's what the Bears started the season with last year. That leaves out some guys like Michael Spurlock or Josh Bellamy, who might be able to work their way to the back of someone's depth chart. However, if they were really great, the Bears would probably keep them around.
However, you can read a good argument by our own Sam Householder here, where he argues that it would be wiser for the Bears to keep Spurlock for the special teams contribution as well."
Chris: "The Browns took the first cornerback in the draft, Justin Gilbert, with the 8th overall pick. The next cornerback off the board went to the Bears at No. 14 overall in Kyle Fuller. How has Fuller looked, and what role is he expected to play to begin the season?"
Kev: "Kyle Fuller was showing some great flashes through camp and the beginning of preseason, and then he tweaked his ankle on kickoff return of the first play against Jacksonville.
He seemed to show the natural instinct, and the plan is for him to be the starting nickel corner for the Bears next week vs. Buffalo. The long-term plan should for him to replace, likely, Peanut Tillman. The veteran corner is basically working on a "do I feel good? Ok, I'll play" one-year type deal. Everything Fuller has shown, while early, indicates that he an be marked in the "W" column for GM Phil Emery. "
Chris: "What is the level of patience that Bears fans have with head coach Marc Trestman? Is he in the good graces of fans, or would another 7-9 or 8-8 type of season put him at risk of losing his job?"
Kev: "Bears fans are generally on Trestman's side. He's brought something to this town in one year that we've never really seen before, and that's a legitimate big-kid offense. That said, if the defense continues to falter, I think many of the more traditional fans will get mad about seeing a team that's always been known for defense having none. I think another middling season, as long as the offense stays strong and the defense shows some signs of improvement, will be ok. After all, this is an organization that let Lovie Smith miss the playoffs 6 out of 9 times."
Chris: "Tell us about a player on the Bears' remaining 75-man roster who Browns fans might not be aware of but who has had a good camp."
Kev: "Defensive end Cornelius Washington has had some chances to flash late this preseason, and has made some plays. He's also got some special teams value.
Another player would be Sherrick McManis. He's been a solid special teamer since being acquired in a trade with the Texans in 2012, but he's had a good run as a defensive back with the 2s and 3s as well. He plays very well on special teams, and should prove to be a solid back-of-the-roster guy for another year."
Thanks again to Kev for taking the time to answer my questions.