The Bears Six-Pack Keys to Victory: Preseason Game 1, Panthers Edition

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The preseason kicks off tonight, but the Bears' first game is on Friday. We're looking forward to the game, and we've got some things we want to see out of the game.

Preseason games are weird. Friday games are weird. So even though I'm looking forward to the start of football season like the rest of you, a preseason game on Friday leaves a guy that typically posts on Saturday or Sunday in a twist.

Normally, the day before a Sunday game, I post six keys for the Bears to pave the way towards victory. The problem of course is that in the preseason, the win matters for nothing. So instead, before each preseason game I'll offer up a few things that I'm interested in heading into the contest.

(Also, another minor programming note, I'll be resuming my weekly Pleased to Meet You features starting this Wednesday afternoon, so be ready for that!)

1) The Middle and Bottom of the Receiving Corps

Clearly, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are the one and two receivers at the top, but behind them it's a bit questionable. Earl Bennett will likely hold onto the 3, but after him, between Joe Anderson, Eric Weems and Marquess Wilson, as well as the UDFAs such as Josh Lenz, it'll be interesting to see the pattern of usage of the other receivers.

2) The Right Side of the Offensive Line

The offensive line has a good chance to improve this year behind the free agent acquisitions of Jermon Bushrod, Ebon Britton, Matt Slauson, and the drafting of Kyle Long and Jordan Mills, but with all of the new players and the shifting of J'Marcus Webb to right tackle, I'd like to see who's lining up over there and where everyone stands.

3) Is Jonathan Bostic Ready?

With the injury to D.J. Williams, Bostic moves into the starting middle linebacker spot. He might get a few extra snaps, but I'd like to see how the defense holds up with him in immediately.

4) Corey Wootton and Shea McClellin

I'm expecting Wootton to start at end opposite Peppers, of course, but I'd like to see how these two continue to be used, with Wootton shifting inside in nickel packages and McClellin coming in at end.

5) Has Brandon Hardin Learned to Not Tackle With His Head?

...I'd say this is self-explanatory, his future employment depends on it (though I don't think he goes anywhere, at least not without cause).

6) Is This It at Defensive Tackle?

I kind of want to see who all lines up at defensive tackle. Does Zach Minter get extended time in there?

Who are some of the players you're looking for? What do you want to see out of the first preseason game?

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