The Bears play their first preseason game this Saturday vs. the Kansas City Chiefs. Today, we’ll be checking out four things to look for in this game that could have an impact on the season as a whole.
How Will the Young Offensive Linemen Perform
I’m very intrigued to see how rookie Left Tackle Braxton Jones plays against real competition. He’s a 5th round pick from Southern Utah and wasn’t viewed by many to have a shot to start in year 1. Well, after a couple of weeks of practices, he’s getting all of the first team reps at Left Tackle and appears to be in the driver’s seat to win that job. I’m also going to be interested in how Teven Jenkins plays. He’s finally back at practice after missing the first week or so, and he’s trying to throw his name in the mix to be the starter at Right Tackle. 2nd year player Larry Borom and newly signed Riley Reiff are the guys who are alternating reps at the Right Tackle position currently. Jenkins has an uphill battle ahead of him. The best way for him to prove himself is to go and play well Vs. Kansas City. That’s how more reps will come his way.
What Wide Receivers Step Up?
Behind Darnell Mooney, it’s all a big question mark in terms of who the starting Wide Receivers will be. With the injuries to Byron Pringle and N’Keal Harry, it’s an even bigger question mark on who the contributing receivers will be. Velus Jones Jr. and Equanimeous St. Brown have been training camp standouts, but how they will fare against a different defense than the Bears remains to be seen. Guys like Dante Pettis, David Moore, and Tajae Sharpe are also in the mix to take up backup spots, and they will have an opportunity to shine with the injuries to Pringle and Harry.
How will the Secondary Look?
This offseason, the biggest roster upgrade the Bears made was to the secondary. Safety Eddie Jackson and Cornerback Jaylon Johnson are returning. Jackson has had a rough past couple of seasons and is looking for a fresh start under Head Coach Matt Eberflus. Jackson said “You can approach it like oh man… we’re starting over”. That’s how Eddie Jackson should look at it. Getting back to anything close to his 2018 self will be a big boost to this defense and team as a whole. Jaylon Johnson is one of the more intriguing players on the whole team when talking about his future with the team. He’s extremely young and also possesses a lot of really good traits that you look for in a shutdown corner. The two biggest additions were through the draft. Cornerback Kyler Gordon was taken at 39th overall and has inside and outside corner flexibility. He’s expected to start and be a big boost to a cornerback unit that struggled mightily last season. He’s dealing with an unknown injury, but is day to day according to Matt Eberflus, so hopefully he’s ready come Saturday. Safety Jaquan Brisker was taken 48th overall and has come into training camp and stood out right away. He plays hard, physical, instinctive football. He’s a hard hitter and is a sound tackler. I expect him to play well alongside Eddie Jackson this year. I expect the secondary to be the best unit on the whole team this year, and many others agree.
How different will Justin Fields Look from Last Year?
Last year was a disaster for Quarterback Justin Fields and the team as a whole. With a new staff, revamped offensive line, and a strong run game, people wonder how much better Fields will look than he did last year. Fields’ stats were horrible with less than 2000 passing yards, 7 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. However, if you turn on the tape, he flashed a lot of the potential that made him the 11th overall draft pick in 2021. Even though this staff didn’t pick Fields in the draft, it’s believed that they see him as a part of this team into the future. Many don’t have high expectations for Fields in 2022. Any success that he has will get this fanbase fired up for what the future would hold. I don’t expect Fields to come out and be an MVP candidate, but consistency and improvement is very key to the Bears future success