The Chicago Bears will play their second preseason game of the 2018 season Thursday night when they go on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals.
It will be the first game to feature the majority of the team’s starters as nearly 30 players, including most of the starters, sat out the entire game vs. the Baltimore Ravens last week.
The starters are expected to only play a few series. There are also players who can build on their performance in last week’s game. Here are the three Bears to watch for against the Bengals:
Wide receiver Kevin white is expected to see his first game action since breaking his shoulder blade in the 2017 season opener against the Falcons. The former 2015 first-round draft pick has only played in three total games in three seasons with the Bears.
This year is a make or break year for White as he is in his last year or his rookie contract and is playing for a new coaching staff.
During training camp, White has flashed during practices and head coach Matt Nagy appears to believe in White’s ability as he did not play in the game against the Ravens last week. With Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel possibly not playing and rookie Anthony Miller scheduled to only play a few series, it will be interesting how long White plays against the Bengals.
It is important to keep an eye on how long he plays Thursday night and how many targets he gets as it could dictate how the team wants to use him for the remainder of the pre-season.
Big things are expected from the Bears defense this season as they retained defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
Linebacker Leonard Floyd is viewed as the most important player to the defense as he is expected to be the team’s best pass rushing threat. Floyd has recorded 11.5 in two seasons while missing 10 games over that span. In Week 11 last year, Floyd was lost for the season after cornerback Kyle Fuller accidentally ran into his knee. Luckily there was no significant damage, but Floyd did have surgery on the knee in the off-season.
Floyd has worn a knee brace throughout training camp and is expected to play against the Bengals. It is important to keep an eye on Floyd’s speed and mobility during the time he is on the field to show whether or not he is fully recovered from the injury. He is vital to the Bears pass rush as the team lost several quality players at the outside linebacker position and did not address the position in free agency. A less than 100 percent Floyd would be a big concern for the defense.
Wims was the biggest standout against the Ravens last week as he caught seven passes for 89 yards in the second half. With wide receiver Joshua Bellamy not traveling with the team for Thursday’s game, Wim could see reps with the second stringers and could get more expanded look from the coaching staff. The Bears seventh-round selection from this year’s draft provides the team with size as he stands at 6-foot-4.
Last week, Wims worked both from the outside and from the slot and showed depth by running many different routes. In the red-zone, he was targeted on both fade routes in the end-zone and slants over the middle.
With another quality performance, Wims could factor into the starting offense in a specialized role whether providing another big-bodied target in red-zone situations or as a quality backup if the team’s bigger wide receivers are injured during the season.