Dane Sanzenbacher’s odds improve after Bears cut Rashied Davis
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org August 29, 2012 9:24PM
Updated: October 1, 2012 5:30PM
Wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher knows better than to feel comfortable, but his chances of making the Bears’ 53-man roster improved significantly after the team released veteran Rashied Davis on Wednesday.
With roster spots at a premium because of injuries to Brian Urlacher, punter Adam Podlesh and safety Chris Conte, the Bears could keep just five receivers, which would leave Sanzenbacher out, unless kick returner Eric Weems suddenly falls out of favor. Brandon Marshall, Devin Hester, Alshon Jeffery and Earl Bennett are locks.
As a player with a full year of NFL service, Sanzenbacher is not eligible for the practice squad. Even if he were, he probably wouldn’t make it there because of leaguewide interest in him.
The 5-11, 180-pound Sanzenbacher has two receptions for 15 yards in the preseason heading into Thursday night’s finale against the Cleveland Browns at Browns Stadium. He had 10 receptions for 107 yards in the preseason last year.
‘‘I feel like I’ve had a good camp,’’ Sanzenbacher said. ‘‘I don’t have any regrets about how it went down the past month. I think I’m going to get a great opportunity [against the Browns] and put it all on the field and ... whatever happens, happens. But I feel I’ve done my job to this point.’’
Sanzenbacher led all Bears wide receivers with three touchdown catches in 2011. But with the additions of Marshall and Jeffery, he has had to upgrade his production on special teams this season.
‘‘Dane’s really stepped it up on special teams,’’ Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. ‘‘He’s better as a blocker, better as a gunner. He’s starting to show up on kickoffs — things he was still learning last year.’’
Ready to move on
Though Davis said he never has been cut in his 11-year professional career, he seemed to understand the reality of the situation earlier this week.
‘‘I’ve been blessed,’’ Davis said. ‘‘My wife and I have done well with the money we’ve made. It will [allow] us to make a good transition out of the football life. So for me [getting cut] won’t be as hard as it would be for a rookie, I guess.’’
Undrafted rookie wide receivers Joe Anderson and Brittan Golden are long shots and probable practice-squad players, but each has made an impression in the preseason.
Anderson, a minicamp tryout player from Texas Southern with a 41-inch vertical, has five receptions for 33 yards in the preseason. He caught a game-winning 12-yard touchdown pass from Jason Campbell against the New York Giants last week.
‘‘We’ve seen a lot of players step up,’’ coach Lovie Smith said. ‘‘A guy like Joe Anderson — most of you don’t know a lot about where he’s from and where he’s played college ball. But he got an opportunity and made a couple of big plays.’’