Bears preseason begins tonight at 7 PM CST as the Bears host the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field. I know we are all excited to see the starters in action once again, especially the offense led by Jay Cutler, but don’t expect them to see too much time. Just like any preseason, the focus is usually on the backups or perhaps two players of the same position competing for the starting role. In tonight’s game (and all throughout preseason), we have a little bit of both. We will examine players looking to jump from the 3rd to 2nd string and players competing against others for the starting job.
Who to watch…
Jordan Palmer vs. Jimmy Clausen: While Palmer is currently listed as the 2nd stringer behind Cutler in the Bears unofficial preseason depth chart, look for Clausen to make a case to jump into the 2nd spot this preseason. These two quarterbacks should see the most snaps among the Bears four quarterbacks in preseason ahead of Cutler (guaranteed starter) and rookie David Fales.
Ka’Deem Carey: Shaun Draughn is currently listed as the 2nd stringer behind Matt Forte, but I expect Carey to strongly compete for his role before the regular season begins. The Bears have been needing a solid backup for Forte after failing to find production in free agents such as Chester Taylor, Marion Barber, and Michael Bush which is why they drafted Carey in the 4th round of the 2014 draft.
All Backups: This is a tough one. I couldn’t really pick out a certain player as there are multiple guys competing for the 3rd receiver spot after Marquess Wilson fractured his collarbone in practice a few days ago. Receivers such as Chris Williams, Josh Morgan, Eric Weems, Greg Herd, ect. will all have a shot for the #3 role. The Bears may also add another receiver via free agency sometime in the next couple weeks as well. Just keep an eye out on any wide receiver not named Marshall or Jeffery this preseason as they may become our #3 guy.
Ego Ferguson: Stephen Paea is expected to start at nose tackle this season, but keep an eye out for the Bears’ 2nd round draft pick and see how well he plays the next few weeks.
Jonathan Bostic: Bostic made some Bears fans excited last preseason with a few explosive plays on defense but was rushed into the starting role during the regular season when injuries hit the starters. It’ll be interesting to see how improved he is this year after gaining a year of experience in the NFL.
Shea McClellin: Shea is listed as the starter for preseason at the strong-side linebacker position. More questions are surrounding him than just about any other player on this roster. He did not work out well at the defensive end position and so the Shea McClellin experiment continues with him at linebacker.
Kyle Fuller: The Bears were expected to pick a safety or defensive lineman with their 1st round pick in the 2014 draft. That was not the case as they selected CB Fuller with their 14th overall pick. Watch out for this rookie as the Bears hope to develop him behind Charles Tillman so he can eventually become Tillman’s replacement in the future.
All of them: I can’t just pick one or two. The Bears safeties were awful last season and there are still many questions surrounding the strong safety and free safety spots. This is by far the biggest battle to watch for this preseason as Ryan Mundy, Brock Vereen, Adrian Wilson, and company are all competing for starting roles for when the regular season begins.
Pat O’Donnell: Watch for a… punter? That’s correct! It’s safe to say that Adam Podlesh simply didn’t work out for the Bears. Punters always seem to be overlooked but can in fact play an important role in every football game. Sometimes an extra 10 yards on to a punt can be a difference maker in a game or a well aimed punt out of bounds to backup the opposing team inside their own 20 yard line. While hopefully we won’t see much of O’Donnell this season (as that would mean we are punting a lot), do keep an eye on him this preseason. He has one powerful leg but has been inconsistent throughout practice.
Featured image via (Fansided.com)