While the Chicago Bears haven’t publicly shared which starters will play (or how much they will play) in tonight’s preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the team did announce four players who won’t be in the mix.
JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago tweets that wide receiver Josh Bellamy, cornerback Rashard Fant, linebacker Isaiah Irving, and tight end Dion Sims did not travel with the team to Cincinnati.
It’s a bit disappointing that Irving isn’t taking the trip to face the Bengals. Irving was one of the team’s standout performers during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, and we would have liked to see him try and repeat his performance. We would have also liked to see where Fant shaped up against Cincinnati’s wideouts, as he tries to make an impression and stand out in a crowded secondary.
Sims’ absence is a bit peculiar, as The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain notes that he’s the only one in the group who hasn’t recently missed time with injuries.
The Bears signed Sims, who is listed ahead of second-year rookie Adam Shaheen on the tight end depth chart, to a lucrative free agent deal a year ago and he started 14 games in 2017. But with him out of the equation tonight, look for Shaheen to get an increased number of snaps. We’ll keep an eye out to see how Shaheen handles an increased workload as he tries to make the most of an opportunity to stand out in the battle to be the team’s team’s top “Y” tight end.
Stankevitz added that running back Jordan Howard and receiver Taylor Gabriel did make the trip, which suggests each could be available to get some game reps after missing practice time with injuries. Howard was sidelined with a knee issue, while Gabriel has been battling a foot problem. Neither issue has left first-year Head Coach Matt Nagy worried about either player’s long-term prognosis. But if either player’s injury is mildly serious, there is no reason to trot them out there in what is one of four remaining preseason contests.