Players to watch against Carolina

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by riczaj01, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    http://www.hubarkush.com/2013/08/08/offensive-players-to-watch-in-bears-preseason-opener/abjk7ts/
    Offensive players to watch in Bears' preseason opener
    By KEVIN FISHBAIN - kfishbain@shawmedia.com - Thursday, August 8, 2013 12:32 p.m. CDT
    [​IMG]
    Guard Kyle Long runs off the field following the first day of Chicago Bears training camp in Bourbonnais, Ill. on Friday, July 26, 2013. (Lathan Goumas - lgoumas@shawmedia.com)
    When Bears head coach Marc Trestman said that starters will play minimally in Friday’s preseason opener — if they play at all — that opened the opportunity door for the players trying to make the squad.
    Here’s a look at the players on offense to keep an eye on, position-by-position, when the Bears take on the Panthers on Friday night.
    Quarterback
    Third-string quarterback Matt Blanchard gets his opportunity to shine, with Jay Cutler expected to be limited to one series. “He’s going to be heavily involved in managing the game, which is not easy to do in those times,” Marc Trestman said Wednesday. “It can get a little chaotic. We want to see him keep his poise, be efficient, and take his time with the football.” A great preseason for Blanchard could make the Bears seriously consider keeping three quarterbacks, it could also garner him some attention from other teams in need of another option under center after final cuts.
    Running back
    Undrafted rookie Michael Ford should get plenty of touches, and maybe a kick return or two, to show what he can do. There hasn’t been much of a competition between Ford and Armando Allen as the No. 3 back, so the former LSU Tiger will need a heck of a preseason showing to make things interesting. He could be a practice-squad candidate, as he is ahead of some of the other rookies thanks to his abilities on special teams.
    Wide receiver
    This may be the most intriguing position to watch on Friday night. Earl Bennett (concussion) is out, and don’t expect much from Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, who were both limited in the spring with injuries. Joe Anderson has been one of the stars of camp, and he has the edge to make the roster. Veterans Eric Weems and Devin Aromashodu, along with rookie Marquess Wilson and first-year wideout Terrence Toliver — who has found quite the connection with Josh McCown in practice — are all fighting for that No. 5/6 wide receiver spots. Also keep an eye on undrafted rookie Josh Lenz, who should be the punt returner after Devin Hester.
    Tight end
    The Bears’ search for Marellus Bennett’s backup should get some answers on Friday night. Steve Maneri and Leonard Pope are battling to be the Bears’ blocking tight end, while Fendi Onobun is searching for his role on the team. His camp has been up and down, but we’ve seen enough highlights to be curious about his potential in the passing game.
    Offensive Line
    Kyle Long, Kyle Long and Kyle Long. No player may get as much attention — and potential scrutiny — for the way he plays than Long, the Bears’ first-round pick. Long is raw and didn’t have many starts at Oregon, so this preseason game should show us plenty about how ready Long could be for Week One, as he battles James Brown to be the starting right guard. As far as those trying to make the team, Taylor Boggs has been impressive in camp and could be the No. 2 center over Edwin Williams with a good preseason.
  2. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Defensive players to watch in Bears' preseason opener
    By KEVIN FISHBAIN - kfishbain@shawmedia.com - Thursday, August 8, 2013 2:02 p.m. CDT
    [​IMG]
    Khaseem Greene signs autographs for fans after the sixth day of practice at the Chicago Bear training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais Ill. on Thursday, August 1, 2013. (Kyle Grillot - kgrillot@shawmedia.com)
    Several defensive players have been nicked up at times during training camp, most notably Turk McBride and Kelvin Hayden, who both suffered season-ending injuries. With that in mind, we should see plenty of the backups in Carolina when the Bears open the preseason.
    Here’s a look at the players on defense to keep an eye on, position-by-position, when the Bears take on the Panthers on Friday night.
    Defensive line

    Corey Wootton has missed time with hip and calf injuries, and Julius Peppers was excused from the last two practices, so don’t expect them to play much — if at all — on Friday. Kyle Moore has made some plays in the backfield during camp and should get plenty of playing time with the first-team defense, along with Shea McClellin. In terms of players fighting to make the team, keep an eye on the following D-linemen: Corvey Irvin, Cornelious Washington, Aston Whiteside and Zach Minter. Irvin and Whiteside have made some nice plays in pass-rush drills, Washington is the team’s sixth-round pick getting his first NFL action and Minter may have the best shot of an undrafted rookie to make this team, the way he has played in camp. Those players are among several fighting for just a couple roster spots. Moore and Nate Collins are pretty solid as the team's top D-line reserves.
    Linebacker
    Jon Bostic will start at middle linebacker in his first NFL game, and he will be under the spotlight manning Brian Urlacher’s spot. Similarly to Kyle Long on the offensive side of the ball, Bostic’s play will be closely monitored. If he can handle the transition smoothly, he should be the Week One starter. As well as Bostic has played in camp, we’ll learn a lot more on Friday. Fellow rookie Khaseem Greene should make the team, but his play is also worth watching to see how he continues to fare in the system.
    Cornerback
    Hayden’s season-ending injury means Isaiah Frey is the team’s nickel back — at this time. Frey has been the star of training camp, but he spent last year on the practice squad and still needs to show what he can do in a game to solidify his spot. Zack Bowman and Sherrick McManis should get extra reps, but two undrafted rookies have a big opportunity to shine — Demontre Hurst and C.J. Wilson. Hayden’s injury opens up another spot at corner for either Hurst or Wilson to grab, otherwise the team may go find a veteran.
    Safety
    The starters are set here, and there’s no reason to think Craig Steltz won’t return again as the No. 3 safety. This preseason is significantly important for Brandon Hardin, who hasn’t played in a regular-season football game since December 2010. He is competing with Anthony Walters, Tom Zbikowski, Cyhl Quarles and Tom Nelson to be the No. 4 safety. Hardin was a third-round pick, but the team needs to see if he can hit after last year’s injury and how he handles his role in the zone. Zbikowski hasn’t broken past the third team in practice, so this preseason is key for him, too.
  3. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    For me the pre season is always, at least for the Bears, how well the OL can protect, and the depth battles. Allen vs Ford, Brown/Long, McCown/Blanchard, the entire WR's 4 and below on O, and then the depth of the entire D. DL through the S's.
    I actually enjoy watching the depth guys play for their lives.
  4. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    The big 3 I'll be watching is Britton, Frey, and Joe Anderson. I'll be keeping a close eye on Collins as well and anyone not named Garza playing C.
  5. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

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    My eye is on Bostic, Hardin, Frey and JBrown.
  6. mdbearz

    mdbearz Veteran

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    I actually like watching the depth guys also. They give you an idea if they are capable of taking over due to injuries. I don't have an illusion about any of the guys playing in the second half of being immediate starters, but you do get to see an occasional guy really start to shine.

    I always keep in the back of my mind, these guys are out there hoping to impress both the Bears and any other team that might be looking for a certain position.

    A guy like Kyle Adams is a bubble guy for us (he will likely need to make the team again on STs), but if he has enough good tape, and we cut him, he could land on another team that is desperate for a HB/TE.

    I do enjoy watching preseason.

    BTW, I watched Hanie play for a few minutes with the Ravens and I was relieved to see him be very average against guys that will be on the street this year.
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