Saturday night will be the Bears third preseason game as they travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts. Although the third preseason game is usually the “dress rehearsal” game for teams, it is unlikely that neither the Colts or Bears starters play.
With the starters and key reserves been held out, it is still likely the Bears coaching staff treat the game as “dress rehearsal” from game-planning standpoint which makes tonight’s standout performances even more important.
Here are three Chicago Bears players to watch for tonight against the Indianapolis Colts:
Kicker Eddy Pineiro
The Bears’ extensive kicking competition came to an end last Sunday when the team released kicker Elliott Fry. Eddy Pineiro is the sole kicker on the team and will have final two pre-season games to prove himself to the team before the start of the regular season on September 5th. In the team’s last game in New York, he connected on both of his field-goal attempts, rebounding from the week prior where he missed his only attempt against Carolina at home.
Against the Colts, Pineiro will have the best environment of the entire preseason to kick in. Lucas Oil Stadium has a retractable roof and windows, but still is a controlled environment for kickers to kick in. If Pineiro struggles in a controlled environment, it will be more concerning than if he were to struggle at Soldier Field where the conditions can change at any moment.
Linebacker/ Edge Rusher Kylie Fitts
The depth of the Bears defense is one of the most important aspects of the preseason this year. If Khalil Mack or Leonard Floyd go down to injury, it will be up to either Aaron Lynch or possibly Kylie Fitts to fill in. Fitts is in his second season with the team, and although drafted in the late-round of the 2018 draft, some believe he has the potential to be a quality player. Fitts is similar to Lynch in that he can line up at the outside linebacker spot or on the line at the edge position.
With the defensive starters expected not to play tonight, Fitts most likely will be starting.
The Colts have built one of the best offensive lines in all of football and have one of the better offensive-minded head coaches in Frank Reich. Keep an eye out on how new Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano utilizes his outside linebackers in blitzes tonight. The development of Fitts is key as another pass rushing threat could make this defense even more dangerous.
Wide Receiver Riley Ridley
Rookie wide receiver Riley Ridley made his NFL debut last week against the Giants catching three passes for 19 yards. With the offensive starter sitting against the Colts, Ridley should see even more playing time than he did last week. When the Bears drafted him out of Georgia in the fourth round of the draft this year, many viewed the pick as one of the biggest steals of the draft. Ridley’s biggest attributes are his crisp route running and his ability to win one-on-one situations.
In last season’s third preseason game, another Georgia receiver made a name for himself against the Chiefs. Javon Wims caught four passes for over 100 yards and a touchdown. Ridley will have the same chance to make a name for himself against the Colts on Saturday just like Wims did last season. Having another wide receiver that can battle on the outside will make the Bears offense that more versatile and unpredictable once the season starts.