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Welcome to Preseason Football

Today should have been the day the preseason kicked off, with Richard Dent smiling as he watched the Bears pound the living crap out of I mean play the first preseason game of the season against the St. Louis Rams in the Hall of Fame Game. Since the CBA and labor difficulties decided to interfere with that, however, we get to start the preseason at Soldier Field, grass permitting, against the Buffalo Bills. Lester will have his Position Battles series starting this week, and I'm sure that will be a very interesting and exciting read as we lead towards kickoff. But as for my psychotic self, follow me past the jump for a quick look at what I'm going to be watching for specifically throughout the preseason.

First and foremost is the offensive line. Not because I'm worried about how quickly the trainers will have to sprint out there for Jay, but because I want to see how the lines look against actual defenses that are trying to sack the quarterback. We know we have one of the best defenses in the NFL and they've been playing like it for the most part in practice. The Bears get the Bills, the Giants, the Titans and Browns as their preseason opponents, and the only one of those teams that has a scary pass rush is, well, I don't think I need to awaken those memories.

I'm also looking for the offensive line second stringers - if they can provide some good competition for the first stringers, that first string line could be pressed knowing someone can take their job.

But enough about our favorite collection of whipping boys.

I'm also looking at the receiving corps. So far the reports on Fantuz have been mixed and Sanzenbacher's been fairly outstanding, but we haven't seen them play in game action yet. It'll be interesting to see those two hit the field, even if it is only against second stringers. Also, we'll see how Williams approaches preseason action, if he plays like he has something to prove or if he plays like his spot is already his.

The third thing I'm keeping my eye on is defensive line play. We know about Peppers and Adams. We don't know about Paea, we don't know if Idonije has a similar year in him, we don't know about Melton's bulking up, and we definitely don't know about Gholston and Okoye. I'm looking forward to seeing if there's anything in that bunch, especially Melton, Paea and Okoye. If the 3-Tech gets penetration up the middle, everything falls into place, and we have three guys who, if things go right, can make that happen.

So I'm done. What are you looking for or forward to this preseason?