Chicago Bears Host San Diego Chargers in Second Preseason Game
- Updated: August 15, 2013
On Thursday night, the Chicago Bears will continue their 2013 preseason as they host the San Diego Chargers in their home opener at Soldier Field.
Unfortunately, the second preseason game is usually one of the dullest. Starters still don’t play much (Chicago’s starters are expected to play about a quarter), roster cuts are not yet looming, and fans are hungry for the regular season after already seeing their first round of football.
Nevertheless, there are some key things to watch for every team in every preseason game. Here are the main things I’ll be watching for the Chicago Bears.
Four of the starters for the offensive line seem set in stone now: Jermon Bushrod at left tackle, Matt Slauson at left guard, Roberto Garza at center, and rookie Kyle Long at right guard. Long, the Chicago Bears’ first round pick in the 2013 draft, had an impressive debut against Carolina last week, and will be looking to continue that here.
The main issue with the offensive line appears to be at right tackle. J’Marcus Webb got the start there last week, but played poorly, and will be replaced in this game by rookie fifth round pick Jordan Mills. Mills will be given every chance to grab the job with a strong performance, but Webb and Eben Britton are also competing for that spot (as well as the injured Jonathan Scott, who should be back to practice next week).
Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler threw seven passes at his wide receivers last week (his eighth attempt was deliberately thrown out of bounds). Six of them were completions, while the seventh was intercepted on a miscommunication between the quarterback and wide receiver. These communications errors often lead to turnovers, so it will be paramount for the offense to make them a thing of the past. Going one quarter without a communication error (before the starters leave the game) would be a step in the right direction.
Can the rookies continue to impress?
The Chicago Bears had several rookies make impressive debuts last week, including offensive linemen Kyle Long and Jordan Mills, linebackers Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene, defensive linemen Cornelius Washington and Zach Minter, cornerback Demontre Hurst, and wide receiver Marquess Wilson. All of these players should get a chance to play with the first or second teams this week, where they will have the opportunity to make a strong claim for a roster spot.
Several potentially important second year players should also get plenty of time in this game, including guard James Brown, wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Joe Anderson, quarterback Matt Blanchard, defensive end Shea McClellin, and cornerback Isaiah Frey.
Three notable veteran starters—wide receiver Brandon Marshall and defensive ends Julius Peppers and Corey Wootton—are expected to make their preseason debut in this game. Even though they won’t play for very long, it will be interesting to see them get back on the field and (hopefully) show fans that they are healthy and ready to have a productive season.
The primary goal for every team in every preseason game is to get out of it without any significant injuries. The Chicago Bears are no exception, and they will especially not want any more guys to get hurt after seeing defensive tackle Henry Melton (concussion) and long snapper Patrick Mannelly (ribs) go down last week. If the team can make it through the first half (which will signal the end of playing time for almost all of the key players this year) without any injuries, they will be happy no matter what else happened in the game.
The main thing to watch in this game—as in any preseason game—is the young players. The Chicago Bears have a plethora of first and second year guys looking to make the team this year, and they should all get a healthy amount of playing time in this game. The two most important players to keep an eye on are probably Kyle Long and Jordan Mills, who will form the entire right side of the starting offensive line. It is rare for a team to start two rookies next to each other, but the Chicago Bears might find themselves doing just that when the regular season rolls around. How well the duo performs on Thursday should go a long way towards determining whether they are both still starting when the Cincinnati Bengals come to town in week one.
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Did anyone see Seifart's summary of the Lions pre-season game points? He is discussing the offense....minus the running game and WRs NOT named CJ, I don't need to hear about Lions offense. What I need to hear about is the Lions DB situation. Does anyone have a meaningful explanation without using using the word Slay?
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