The Chicago Bears preseason opener against the Miami Dolphins will kick off on Saturday at noon (CT), and it’s probably the most anticipated Bears preseason contest since... well, forever. The buzz surrounding Justin Fields has been growing all offseason, but the best thing about it is it’s real. The coaches are fired up, the players are excited, the local beat reporters have been awed, the Miami beat guys that have been at Halas Hall this week were impressed, and the national media have latched on to the the hype train as well.
There’s no further proof of the excitement bubbling around Fields and the Bears than the NFL Network electing to air all three of Chicago’s preseason games live.
While Chicago head coach Matt Nagy has already said that Fields’ “will get a ton of reps” against Miami, he’ll still be playing with a patchwork offensive line and mostly twos and threes. He’ll likely dazzle at times, but will he be Chicago's preseason week one MVP?
I asked a bunch of the WCG staffers to give me their pick for Saturday’s MVP, and with thoughts of Ryan Nall, Tanner Gentry, and Senorise Perry running through their minds, here’s who they predicted.
“He’s been getting some buzz in training camp and he’s one of a few mid-round Pace picks that can be a real difference maker if he pans out. Gipson proving he is deserving of snaps in the OLB rotation starts with a standout performance in the preseason. I’d look for him to cause some pressure off the edge and have a noticeable impact on the Dolphins QB play.” ~ T.J. Starman
“I feel like it’s cheating to say Justin Fields, so I’ll pick one of the guys I expect him to throw to. With Javon Wims, Riley Ridley, and Chris Lacy to chose from, I’ll take the 6’0” camp standout to shine while pulling down Fields’ passes. Honorable mentions: Jesse James (roster-lock TE vs 2nd teamers? That’s a good matchup!), Khalil Herbert (rookie RBs always shine during preseason), Larry Borom (if healthy).” ~ Robert Schmitz
“While I’m not sure how Nagy will utilize his roster during the game, I would expect Herbert to play largely against the 3s. If that’s the case, Herbert is going to have a chance to show off his running skills against subpar competition. Many experts believe the Bears’ found a gem in Herbert and this will be his first opportunity to show Bears’ fans why.” ~ Bill Zimmerman
“I sort of mean that if the line has any integrity at all right now it’s a huge win for him, but for all I know at the rate the Bears are going he will actually suit up and play.” ~ Josh Sunderbruch
“With the departures of Buster Skrine and Kyle Fuller this past offseason, there’s a boatload of questions at corner behind Jaylon Johnson. I expect a few bench guys to use this preseason to lock their roles down, and that’s why Shelley is my pick for MVP. Going into his third year, the Bears need him to blossom into a “starting” nickel back but as of now he still looks expendable enough to play in these expensive scrimmages. A couple picks and TFLs ought to do it.” ~ Jack Salo
“This is the real QB1’s debut for the Chicago Bears. Knowing Justin’s competitive spirit, he’s going to have a debut which will make Matt Nagy and staff think thrice over “the plan” at QB.” ~ Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter
“I doubt we’ll see Cole Kmet and Jimmy Graham much, if at all, which leaves Horsted as the primary U tight end on Saturday, and with the Bears o-line shaky I’d expect Chicago’s quarterbacks to be looking short most of the night.” ~ Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.
“I listen to Bears over Beers and Bootleg Football and my dude EJ has been pumping up Ives for a good while now. The kid is pretty decent and if I know one thing about Bears fans, it’s that they love a good August wide receiver. This is a prime breakout spot for Ives, who starred a couple summers ago, to enter the pantheon of other preseason legends like Eddie Berlin, Brandon Rideau, Dane Sanzenbacher and Terrence Toliver.” ~ Sam Householder
UPDATE: We need to get Sam a do-over as Ives was just cut!
Now it’s your turn, give us your pick for Chicago's preseason week 1 MVP.