NFL Chicago Bears

How close is Dane Sanzenbacher to a Spot on the Chicago Bears 53 Man Roster?

I know in my three to watch preview of the Chicago Bears first pre-season game against the Denver Broncos (click here), I said that I would wait to look at the tape of the game to discuss the performance of Dane Sanzenbacher, but as always recent quotes from coaches and players have peaked my interest, so here I go.

Sanzenbacher more than anyone on this roster seems to be suffering from the solid job that first year GM Phil Emery has done of filling some of the Bears greatest needs, in my opinion had he not filled the WR core with the talent he has, the trade with the Miami Dolphins for Brandon Marshall, the selection of Alshon Jeffery in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL draft, he would have waltzed onto this roster.

That was then, this is now, lets have a look at some of the quotes about Sanzenbacher out of camp, first up is QB Jay Cutler:

“He’s trying to fight to make the team,” Cutler said. “You watch the film on Dane and you have to keep him, from a quarterback’s perspective. I know there are numbers and he’s got to contribute with Dave Toub and the special teams group, but every single day he’s coming out here he’s catching balls, he’s doing what he’s supposed to do. He’s going to be hard to let go if we have to.”

It is not breaking news that Cutler has chemistry with Sanzenbacher, the linked up very nicely at times last season before Cutler fractured his thumb in a regular season game against the San Diego Chargers.

Next up HC Lovie Smith himself:

“He has a role what he can do; a quick receiver in the slot,” Smith said. “He shows up every day. He’s a good football player. When you look at growth, it’s just his overall play. I can’t really pinpoint one thing. He has improved his play just in general. It’s a lot different when you come into camp your second year. We’re pleased with him. He’ll have a good shot at our team.”

In itself a good endorsement, although sceptics would point to the “Rex is our QB” and “Kyle is our QB” of Smith as a sign that you can never take everything an NFL coach says at face value.

Finally wide receivers Darryl Drake who again has nice things to say about Sanzenbacher:

“[Sanzenbacher] does have to be better and he has been better,” said receivers coach Darryl Drake. “I’ve been very pleased with what I have seen from him. I don’t want him to slack up or take his foot off the gas at all, just continue to do what he’s doing and we’ll see what happens.”

My view point is this, Sanzenbacher is going to be pushed, possibly harder than anyone, to see just how much talent, contribution, and progression he can make with and for the Chicago Bears, I feel he has the goods to make an impact, he already plays two phases on special teams, he has to bring it day in and day out, which I think he will, and he makes a place for himself on the 53 man roster.

One thing is for sure, this second year job interview is going to use the oldest Lovie Smith philosophy in the book: “bend, but don’t break!”.