The Chicago Bears will unofficially begin their 2018 season Thursday night in primetime against the Baltimore Ravens.
They will participate in the NFL Hall of Fame game to begin the weekend festivities with both Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. With new Bears head coach Matt Nagy, their will be many aspects of the game even with the majority of starters not expected to see game action.
Here are the three Bears to keep an eye on during the first preseason game of the year:
The other rookie linebacker drafted in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Bears has had a good training camp so far despite a shoulder injury. With the team thin at the outside linebacker position, Fitts could see a lot of playing time against the Ravens and could receive a lot of snaps as a way to prove himself.
He could possibly play a half or possibly three quarters depending on what defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and his staff decide.
With the starters expected not to play and linebacker Aaron Lynch out with a hamstring injury, Fitts can improve his positioning on the depth chart with quality play on defense. A sack or quarterback pressure in front of a national audience could cause fans to get behind him. If Fitts can make plays and stay healthy he could help make an already dangerous defense even more imposing.
Offensive Coaching Staff
Nagy was brought into develop quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and provide the Bears with an insightful offensive mind. Along with offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich and other offensive coaches, eyes will be on them Thursday night to provide a different style of play from the previous coaching regime.
They don’t need to expose their playbookd but make sure the little things are in order throughout the game.
It is important that they are getting the plays into the huddle in a timely manner, how they a two-minute situation is handled, and to make sure the players are not making simple mistakes. With the second and third stringers expected to play the majority of the game, these small things will only be enhanced throughout the game.
The Bears signed free agent kicker Cody Parkey in the offseason to resolve their costly issues in the kicking game. Parkey comes from Miami where he made 21-of 23-field goals attempts and converted 26-of-29 extra point attempts last season.
He is the only kicker on the roster and will not be challenged for the position at all in camp or pre-season. It is important for him to make a good first impression especially after the team struggled with Connor Barth the last two seasons.
It is important for Parkey to connect on all of his attempts against the Ravens or concerns about the kicking game will arise again.
With the ongoing Roquan Smith holdout and questions about the offense, the last thing the Bears need to worry about is their special teams. A solid game by Parkey will reassure fans and allow the coaches and management to focus on more important issues.