Thursday night, the Cleveland Browns take on the Chicago Bears in their fourth preseason game. To help preview this week's game, I reached out to Dane Noble from Windy City Gridiron and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!
Chris: “Browns fans are well-familiar with hometown hero Brian Hoyer. How good of a camp has he had, and is he expected to be the Bears' No. 2 quarterback?”
Dane: “Brian Hoyer is not a good quarterback, and neither is the other backup QB candidate David Fales. The Bears took a huge hit when Connor Shaw (with whom Browns fans are also familiar) went down with a gruesome season-ending injury last week (don't click this link if you don't want to see the injury), so at this point we're left with a competition between Hoyer and Fales, neither of which are capable of leading this team should Jay Cutler go down with any serious injury.”
Chris: “Connor Shaw, another former Browns quarterback, suffered a season-ending injury last week. Prior to the injury, was there any chance of him making the team?”
Dane: “Absolutely there was, and many had thought he would end up being the #2 guy behind Jay Cutler. When the Bears first claimed him off waivers in July, they didn't have any sort of expectation that he would actually come in and immediately out-dual Hoyer or Shaw, but he surprised us and made a lot more plays than the other guys. I think tonight's game would have been the deciding factor, but unfortunately Shaw will have to wait until next year at this point.”
Chris: “K'Waun Williams just failed his physical, so he won't be joining the Bears right away. With Chicago's injuries at cornerback, who do you expect to play cornerback in the fourth preseason game? Are they guys who might not even make the team?”
Dane: “Yes, for sure. The Bears are incredibly thin in their secondary, and cornerback was already a position of concern before Tracy Porter and Kyle Fuller were injured. Neither of those guys are lost for the season-- we hope-- but everyone else will be fighting just to stay on the team. Of course, special teams play will be as big of a factor as anything for those guys, but tonight we'll see guys like De'Vonte Bausby, Deiondre Hall, and Tavese Calhoun suiting up and taking the field. If you said "Who?" to any of those names, there's a reason for it. The Bears are walking on a razor-thin line with their secondary, and the cornerback position is a step away from being in full-blown crisis mode.”
Chris: “What is the biggest position battle, if any, still going on for Chicago?”
Dane: “Primarily wide receiver and tight end. The Bears have their established starters for each of those positions (Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White at WR, and Zach Miller at TE), but the depth at each one of those will be aggressively contested. If you take a peek at the Bears current depth chart, you'll see plenty of names at each position that you likely recognize, and the Bears are lucky to have options in their receiving game. Tonight will be the deciding factor, but the passing game will also directly be affected by the performance of a shaky offensive line.”
Chris: “Is there a young player on the bubble who has had a solid camp, but still might not make the 53-man roster?”
Dane: “All eyes will be on rookie WR Daniel Braverman, a 7th-round pick that has earned a cult following among Bears fans this offseason. He made some acrobatic catches during camp and even the preseason, and at one point the Bears had him listed as a #2 on the depth chart. This week, though, he slipped to #3, and tonight's performance will likely make or break him for 2016.”
Thanks again to Dane for taking the time to answer my questions.