Almost nobody wants to be at the fourth preseason game. The starters have to stand on the sidelines all game and look interested. Coaches watch while visions of game plans dance through their heads. Even the fans are reluctant to show up, even though they paid regular season money for their seats.
The only ones who look forward to the final pretend game before the season begins are the players who are fighting for positions or hanging on by their fingernails for roster spots. The following are 10 Chicago Bears who stood out the most, for both the right and wrong reasons, against the Cleveland Browns.
Cameron Meredith, Wide Receiver
Meredith graduated from Illinois State as a quarterback but has learned how to use his size and strength to become a reliable target as a wide receiver. In the last two games of the preseason, Meredith has 10 catches for 110 yards.
He had a big first half against the Browns plus made a tackle on special teams to almost certainly cement himself a spot on the final roster.
Jacoby Glenn, Cornerback
Glenn had a strong game last Saturday when he started opposite Tracy Porter. Against the Browns, he stepped in as a starter again and gave another strong effort that should have him starting next week if Kyle Fuller isnâ€™t ready to play. At the very least Glenn earned a spot in the cornerback rotation.
Glenn found himself matched against Josh Gordon and gave him a battle that would have made highlight packages during the regular season. Glennâ€™s big play came when he jumped back on Gordon to intercept Josh McCownâ€™s pass.
Jonathan Bullard, Defensive End
Bullard has been pressing starter Mitch Unrein for playing time all through training camp and took advantage of the starters taking the game off by again making himself a disruptive influence on the defensive line.
Bullard has a fast first step and uses his speed to catch blockers out of position and shoot gaps on the line of scrimmage. He made two tackles against Cleveland and forced a number of other plays.
Unrein may want to decline offers of time off going forward
Deiondreâ€™ Hall, Cornerback
Hall has done a good enough job this preseason to earn a spot on the 53-manÂ roster. He had another solid game in coverage, batted away a touchdown pass and was credited with one tackle.
Hall is a 2016 fourth round draft pick so, barring staggering ineptitude, he was going to make the team anyway. With the injuries that have depleted the depth in the Bearsâ€™ secondary Hall has shown that even though heâ€™s still learning at the NFL level, he has enough raw talent to step in where needed.
DeAndre Houston-Carson, Safety
Houston-Carson started and recorded seven tackles against the Browns. One of those was when he laid out Taylor Gabriel in the second quarter while on the punt coverage unit.
Houston-Carson had likely already made the team because of his special teams play. What he showed at safety against Cleveland is that the Bears may have found more out of their sixth round pick than they originally realized.
Nick Kwiatkoski, Linebacker
Kwiatkoski, another fourth round pick for the Bears in the 2016 draft, has been sidelined the entire preseason with a hamstring injury, but he was still expected to make the final roster. He graded well as a linebacker coming out of college but had a solid reputation as a special teams performer, so he wasnâ€™t going anywhere on cut down day.
What Kwiatkoski showed against the Browns is that thereâ€™s some linebacker talent there. In the second quarter, he chased down running back Terrell Watson from behind to make a solo tackle in the right flat. He also nearly racked up his first professional sack in the fourth quarter when he charged up the middle and blew up the back who had stayed in to protect.
Heâ€™s not going to see much of the field with Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman in town, but who better to learn from?
Cornelius Washington, Defensive End
Washington is a talented player and could be a difference maker as part of the defensive line rotation for the Bears. Unfortunately, heâ€™s also proven beyond a doubt that he canâ€™t stay on the field long enough to be that player.
Washington played in 13 games in 2014 after just lasting two in his 2013 rookie season. Last season he ruptured a quad muscle while chasing Aaron Rodgers on the teamâ€™s first defensive play of Week 1. Now heâ€™s spent this summer fighting knee and ankle injuries sustained in the first preseason game against Denver.
Washington started strong against the Browns but was sidelined in the first quarter when he reinjured the knee. Washington has talent and heart, but the Bears have other talented players who have shown they can make it through a game healthy. Itâ€™s time to face reality and let Washington try to make something of himself in a different NFL stop.
Chris Prosinski, Safety
Prosinski isnâ€™t the worst defensive back on the team, but heâ€™s not a playmaker. Heâ€™s around the ball a lot but can be moved if a team wants to move him and is a step slow when reacting to the ball in coverage.
Prosinski is worth keeping as a situational substitute and a regular on special teams if a team has talent in front of him. The Bears need to develop secondary talent, which means Prosinski isnâ€™t a luxury the Bears can afford.
John Timu, Inside Linebacker
Timu has good instincts, is quick laterally and good at disengaging from blockers. Itâ€™s when he has to finish by making a tackle where the weakness in his game shows up.
On Isaiah Crowellâ€™s first quarter touchdown run, Timu fought through a block to get inÂ position but whiffed on the tackle. Later, in the fourth quarter, while playing against the bottom of the Brownsâ€™ bench, he missed another tackle to allow a solid gain.
Daniel Braverman, Wide Receiver
Braverman was having a good training camp until the games started. In the first three preseason games, he caught four passes for 23 yards. He also disappointed in the opportunities he was given as a punt returner.
Braverman caught two passes against the Browns for 17 yards, but it was his play on special teams that showed heâ€™s currently not ready for the NFL.
Braverman fair caught one punt when he only had one player bearing down on him but still 10 yards away. He needed to show he could make a move to break away and get positive yards. On his next opportunity, he let the punt sail over his head and roll another 30 yards, for a net punt of 75 yards.
By Saturday morning the Bearsâ€™ roster will be cut down to the final 53 men. On Sunday Braverman will likely get a chance to continue his NFL career on the practice squad.