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Tuesday, September 28

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Bears Fri Sep 26 2014

Get to Know the Bottom of the Bears Roster

Thumbnail image for GB bears icon.pngWhen an NFL team is ravaged by injuries like the Bears have been early this year, the bottom of the roster becomes an unsafe place if you're a player that resides there. Perfectly good and healthy guys get cut all the time because a team may have more of a need at another position. Sometimes, those decisions are made late enough in the week that the Bears end up paying game checks out to more guys than the roster maximum available on Sundays.

Some of those players added mid-week have even seen game action due to regulars and backups getting hurt in-game -- even playing some of the most important downs that have keyed the Bears 2-1 start. Here are the guys that have been added to the roster since the season began, how they've done, and what their future holds.

Taylor Boggs, C/G

He's a familiar name for those that really dig line play, but the Bears released Boggs during final cutdowns because Brian de la Puente was going to handle the backup duties on the inside. Boggs stayed in Chicago on the practice squad, but was back on the 53-man roster a week later because of the opening game ankle injuries to Roberto Garza and Matt Slauson. He's the primary backup at both center and guard until both those guys return to action, and will likely head back to the practice squad once the offensive line is back at full strength.

Ahmad Dixon, S

Dixon was a seventh-round pick by the Cowboys in this year's draft, and had one of the more interesting training camps you'll ever see. He led Dallas with 12 tackles in their preseason opener, but was penalized twice and knocked himself out of the game with a concussion. He was due to return the following week, but was late to a team meeting on that Friday, which got him banned from the second preseason game. Dallas cut him and he ended up in Minnesota as one of the few practice squad players in the NFL making more than the $6,300 per week minimum.

The Bears came calling even before their season opener against Buffalo, telling Dixon they wanted to sign him immediately after the game so he could help their struggling special teams unit. He agreed, and was at Halas Hall the day after the opening loss to join the team. He came up with the huge muffed punt by the Jets early in last week's game, made another fine tackle on a later punt, and even saw a snap in the secondary because Chris Conte, Ryan Mundy, and Danny McCray were all out for differing periods of time. There's no way the Bears are letting him go.

Isaiah Frey, CB

Charles Tillman's season-ending injury along with Sherrick McManis missing time opened a spot back up for Frey, who was among the first roster cuts for the Bears -- mainly due to a nagging hamstring injury he suffered early in camp. They always had the idea of bringing him back, and there he was on Sunday, playing nickel corner. He was OK at best in that role during the 2013 season, filling in for Kelvin Hayden, and will need to show improvement over his first performance if he wants to stay around the rest of the season. Hayden is still out on the street, and if the Bears aren't seeing production or growth, they'll turn back to the veteran.

Terrell Manning, LB

He's played nothing but special teams in his career, and that's precisely what the Bears brought him in for. The third-year player out of N.C. State had a tough first game, getting nailed with a penalty against the Jets after being added to the roster that morning, but will get a chance at redemption against his former team this weekend. He's a cuttable player if the team gets thinner elsewhere.

Rashad Ross, WR

Senorise Perry wasn't performing in the kick returning department, and for some reason, the Bears aren't giving the opportunity to Chris Williams, who's still on their practice squad and was always considered the clubhouse leader during camp even while nursing his hamstring injury. Any mistakes by Ross will likely be the end of his tenure with the Bears, and that's if nobody else gets hurt. Injuries on other parts of the team could easily spell the end for a guy that won't ever get a snap on offense unless something has gone drastically wrong.

Daryl Sharpton, LB

He's what you would call a one-trick pony as an NFL linebacker. Playing 15 games for Houston last season, he ranked as the third-worst inside LB when it came to pass coverage, and was second-worst when rushing the quarterback. So why is he still in the NFL? He ranked second in run stopping at inside linebacker according to PFF, one spot ahead of defensive MVP Luke Kuechly, and two spots ahead of five-time All Pro Patrick Willis. The Bears hope to not have to use him, but if guys get hurt, he'll probably act as a backup in the team's base set on the strong side. Jon Bostic or D.J. Williams going down is his only path onto the field, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Sharpton get action at that point. He'll likely get cut when Shea McClellin returns.

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