The Bears wrapped up training camp today down in Bourbannais and now head back to Halas Hall for final preparations for the regular season.
The Redskins come to town followed by a game against the Giants in preparation for the first roster cut down. Final roster cuts will come after the fourth and final game against the Browns.
While three games remain we're finally starting to gain some clarity about some of the position battles that have gone on throughout camp and we can better pinpoint who will remain on the roster.
We'll get started with one of the battles I've been watching closely from the get go, the fourth DE spot battle between Corey Wootton and Chauncey Davis. Wootton seems to have edged ahead of Davis in this battle as the third year player has remained healthy and put together the best training camp of his career.
Davis was seen today running with the third team kick off return group, yes you read that right. This essentially means that with Davis not getting any important reps in this camp he's destined for the unemployment line.
The question now becomes how effective can Wootton be as he moves forward as a member of the 53-man roster. The debate consistently surrounds the durability of Wootton's knees which at least for now has been emphatically settled.
Wootton has not shown any ill-effects from knee surgery last year or from surgery he had in college. He's been a full participant is healthy and ready to go.
What has separated Wootton from Davis, as expected, has been his ability to rush the passer. Wootton is strong and fast and we have an idea of what type of player he can be, but we now want to see the production to back it up.
Wootton should again get a lot of reps in this second pre-season game against a pretty stout Redskins O-Line. Most of action will likely come in run defense, because the Redskins are a run first team. Wootton needs to hold up well against these bigger OTs and then prove he can come off the ball on third down.
The real question is, is he a player capable of putting together a double digit sack type of season? Can he consistently get pressure as a three down player ala Julius Peppers?
McClellin is a situational rusher at best right now, so Wootton may be called upon even further if an injury happens up front.
Regardless, what has become clear is the Bears have better depth at defensive end than they had at the start of last season. Even more important the two young DEs could eventually be starters in a couple of years.