Bears Weekly Progress Report: Late-Season Roster Moves Raise Questions

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 23:  Head coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears watches from the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 23, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With Michael Bush on injured reserve and Matt Forte hurt (though expecting to play, via Michael C Wright, ESPN Chicago) the Bears are in exactly the situation they were trying to avoid when they signed Bush last offseason.

Bush was shut down after being unable to play against the Green Bay Packers and it's not clear exactly what was going on. Normally, rib injuries don't take a player down for the season, at least not ones who were game-time decisions a week before.

The Bears have made some odd player decisions late this season when managing the roster.

Dane Sanzenbacher was cut (on Christmas Eve no less) this week and that move has raised some eyebrows as well. 

Sanzenbacher isn't a highly talented product, but he had decent hands and ran a solid route. Furthermore, he had more catches last year than the never-ending project that is Devin Hester has had this year.

Hester's routes continue to be poorly run and he hasn't found a way to contribute any more this season than he has in the past.

Yet the Bears keep him in the lineup and Sanzenbacher is let go.

Sure, you aren't cutting Hester because he's still too valuable as a returner. But to use Sanzenbacher just three times this year while Hester continues to play poorly, especially when Earl Bennett and rookie Alshon Jeffery have been in and out of the lineup with injury issues, seems crazy.

Is it possible he looked so bad in practice that the Bears couldn't put him in the lineup? I suppose. Still, throwing to him all of three times in the above circumstances makes almost no sense.

I'm not saying he shouldn't have been cut. Clearly the Bears have their reasons, and Sanzenbacher, even if he was a decent prospect, isn't the most vital player on a team battling injuries and in need of roster spots.

Between the timing of Bush's placement on IR and cutting a healthy player who hasn't had much of a chance to contribute a season after playing better than Hester, it's fair to winder how these decisions are being made. 

With Lovie Smith's job under fire, all aspects of the team and how it's run will be under scrutiny. The continued use of Hester, the handling of Bush and moves like cutting Sanzenbacher may not seem like much individually.

However, looked at together, it may give some insight into the problems which have plagued the Bears not just this season, but for years.

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