Our beloved Chicago Bears, in their 91st year of existence, open up their preseason schedule with a game against the San Diego Chargers, Saturday night at 8 pm CT, broadcast locally on FOX.
There is so much to watch for because it's the 1st game and our 1st look at so many new faces. I'm very excited about Saturday night. A couple of days ago, I detailed some roster battles that "bear" watching: link. Consider that a handy guide for tomorrow's game. You also might want to print out the Bears' roster, so you know who all these guys are and what number they have. Bears' roster link.
- 79: Number of players on the Bears' roster (Harvey Unga now on IR)
- 2: Number of quarters Martz & Lovie say some of the starters will play
- 3: Number of Left Tackles for San Diego that are injured or holding out and won't play (Peppers FTW)
- Eleventy Billion: My anticipation level for actually watching Bears' football again
San Diego: Marcus NcNeil (LT): holdout, Vincent Jackson (WR): holdout, Shawne Merriman (LB): just signed/won't play, Tra Thomas (LT): knee, Darren Sproles (RB): shoulder, Larry English (LB/DE): foot, Nic Richmond (LT): knee
Bears: Brian Iwuh: knee, Earl Bennett: hammy, Brandon Manumaleuna: knee
(There is no official NFL injury report for the preseason, so the above list is not comprehensive.)
When the Chargers have the ball:
Quarterback Philip Rivers is fast approaching, if not already at, an elite level. He'll be throwing the ball to Antonio Gates a lot. With Vincent Jackson still holding out, watch for 6' 5" Malcom Floyd (#80) & 6' 2", 220 lb Legedu Naanee (#11) on the outside. Those are 3 big, big targets. How will our new-look secondary handle them?
SD used a very high draft pick on Ryan Matthews to replace HOFamer LDT. How will he look?
The Bears defense has coasted on reputation for a couple of years now. They brought in Julius Peppers to revamp the pass rush. They brought in Chris Harris & drafted Major Wright to solidify the safety position. Urlacher is back from injury. How will this defense look?
Key Matchup: Antonio Gates vs Bears linebackers and safeties.
X-Factor: With all the injuries to the left side of their O-line, I don't think Rivers will play or throw much.
When the Bears have the ball:
It's all about the Martzfense! Jay Cutler, the wide receivers' timing & routes, the tight ends involvement, the new-look Matt Forte, Chester Taylor, and more.
Did I not mention the offensive line? That is the biggest question mark that this team needs to figure out by opening day. Will the new LG Roberto Garza work out? Will 7th rounder Lance Louis work out at RG? Will Frank Omiyale false start again & again & again? (Over/under on FO false starts is 1.5.)
We don't want to see a repeat of this:
On defense, the Chargers play a 3-4. This will be a preview of one of seven matchups with this kind of defense that the Bears play this season including the Cowboys, Packers (x2), Jets, Dolphins, Redskins & Patriots.
Key Matchup: Lance Louis at RG & Frank Omiyale at RT vs. the Chargers left side.
X-Factor: Will the starters really play 2 quarters...I'm skeptical.