As we prepare for tonight’s second preseason game, it is difficult not to address the elephant in the room. The Bears, whether they wanted to or not, have a budding quarterback controversy on their hands.
John Fox has done his best to quell the Mitchell Trubisky talk by pronouncing the second overall pick the third-string quarterback for the game in Arizona. It will be interesting to see how this actually plays out during the game. I have a hunch that the team will want to see Trubisky in more stressful situations than the ones he faced against Denver.
Playing time in general will be interesting to keep an eye on as there are a few players with nagging injuries who will most likely be held out. I would assume that Prince Amukamara will be held out of the game as he is likely to join Kyle Long, Pernell McPhee, Markus Wheaton and Danny Trevathan as key contributors that are on the mend.
Another thing to keep in mind while watching this game, it doesn’t matter if the Bears win or lose the game. It really doesn’t. But what matters is the eye test. I would like to see the offense move the ball and the defense clean up the penalties. But as always, remember that this is a preseason game, take everything you see with a grain of salt.
In lieu of keys to the game, since this is preseason and all, I am going to give you what to watch for and which players to watch for.
What to Watch For
On offense, I will be focusing on a few things. First off, the offensive line needs to perform better than it did last week. The first unit gave up significant pressure and failed to open holes in the running game. The receivers and tight ends also dropped several passes. By my count, Zach Miller, Adam Shaheen, Victor Cruz, Cameron Meredith and Daniel Brown all dropped balls. This needs to be cleaned up. Most importantly though, I am going to look at how Glennon runs the offense versus how Trubisky runs it. With a larger sample size from the ones, does it still look as lopsided as it did last week?
Defensively, I want to see the penalties get cleaned up. The defense had a great day, except for the penalties, up until a few blown assignments late in the game. I want to see the secondary take a step. I thought they played well last week, but again, no turnovers. At the very least, I would like to see the defensive backs get their hands on a few balls. Keeping consistent pressure on the quarterback will help and I want to see the defensive front keep the pressure up all game.
Who to Watch
Mitchell Trubisky (#10): But not for the same reasons as last week. Previously, I wanted to see the basics. He blew past those fundamentals, took control of the offense and ran it efficiently. I will be curious to see when the first snap comes. Does Trubisky get reps against better competition? Can he replicate the performance from last week and start stacking good performances together?
Kyle Fuller (#23): Fuller would appear to be getting a huge opportunity to impress due to the hamstring injury of Prince Amukamara. As the first man off the bench, Fuller is going to get plenty of reps with the ones tomorrow night. His career has been up-and-down, and so has his training camp. Which Kyle Fuller will we see tomorrow night, the one from the first half of 2015 or the second half?
Benny Cunningham (#26) vs. Ka’Deem Carey (#25): This is a pivotal battle for a roster spot. Jeremy Langford has just returned back to practice, but he is unlikely to play tomorrow and he has a long way to go to make this roster. I believe that the third running back spot is up for grabs and the two most likely contestants are Cunningham and Carey. They have different styles and both offer special teams value, so this will be interesting to watch. They were pretty even for me last week, but will one stand out on Saturday night?
Kendall Wright (#12) vs. Joshua Bellamy (#15) vs. Deonte Thompson (#14) vs. Tanner Gentry (#19): These four receivers are seemingly battling for two roster spots. All of these players offer something different. Wright is a slot receiver who appears to be behind Cruz at this time. Bellamy is more of a special teams ace than a receiving threat. Thompson had a great night last Thursday and looked more like the player from 2015, than the one last year. Gentry has had an outstanding training camp and seems to have tremendous ability, he just needs to show it in games. Which of these four stands out tomorrow night? It will go a long way towards making this roster.
Hroniss Grasu (#55): I thought that Grasu played well last week. With Eric Kush on Injured Reserve and Kyle Long still coming back from ankle surgery, this would seem to be a perfect opportunity for Grasu to make the roster. Keep an eye out for him playing at guard. My guess is we will see him come in at center during the second quarter and Cody Whitehair will slide over to left guard. Once the second team comes in, we will likely see Grasu stay in at center before moving over to guard at some point. If Grasu can show some ability at guard, that will put a lot of minds at ease about the offensive line depth.
Who and what are you all looking for in the second preseason game?
As always, Bear Down!