Friday night the Bears will make their first away game of the 2012 preseason. All Bear fans are looking for reassurance at safety and the offensive line. Keep reading to find out what else you should be looking for.
This is the game of preseason that the starters will play into the 3rd quarter. Football fans enjoy this preseason game the most. Why? Because in the fourth preseason game it is very unlikely that you will see any starters for any extended amount of time. So in this game, all Bear fans are looking to see how Alshon Jeffery fits in with the starters. Will Evan Rodriguez get touches at tight end? Will that offensive line be able to stop the crazy, intense pass attack of the defending champion, NY Giants defensive line? How will the safeties gain stability? How will the defensive line shape out and who is going to make the 53-man roster?
#1 Who will start at left tackle? This competition between Jamarcus Webb and Chris Williams has been showcased and talked about all preseason. Coach Tice, offensive coordinator, has been on record stating that this game will be the indicator of who will be the starting left tackle. Coach Tice has also said there's competition at left guard between Chris Spencer and Chilo Rachal. Rachal comes from San Francisco 49ers and went to USC. He has experienced winning in his career and the coaches like his intensity. Pay attention to who is better able to protect Jay Cutler. The last time these two teams met, Jay Cutler was sacked 9 times and left with a concussion. If Jay gets enough time, he is a very accurate QB. If he is not given time, that is when his mechanics fail and turnovers happen. This test is the best thing for the Bears and that offensive line.
If the Bears left side of the offensive line cannot pass this test, time might be running out on a solid team that could make deep post-season runs. That defense is not going to be around forever. Brian Urlacher is recovering from a serious knee injury and is 34. Julius Peppers is 32. Lance Briggs and Peanut Tillman are both 31. The Bears have a solid core team right now with the exception of the offensive line.
#2 Will Craig Steltz and Major Wright be solid at safety? Bear fans are already aware of the safety issue. Brandon Hardin and Chris Conte are out for the remainder of preseason. Bears haven't been solid at safety for many years now. Wright is saying all of the right things and is playing at a standard level, but the only thing he can do to ensure his starting spot is HEALTH. Major Wright needs to play every game this season for the Bears. Craig Steltz needs to prove he can be that solid backup or starter for this team. Also look for Anthony Walters and Trevor Coston to get some playing time. Bears need stability here and only have two preseason games left to find it.